By Vanessa Copeland
I’m sure most of you have seen a post similar to the one above, or maybe you have shared one yourself. The “War on Christmas” controversy seems to get bigger and bigger with each passing year. To better understand, let’s take a little trip down History Lane.
Believe it or not, the mid-winter celebration was taking place centuries before the birth of Jesus. It actually started as a celebration during winter solstice to rejoice that the worst of winter was behind, and longer days of sunlight were ahead. The Norse had a celebration called Yule, which started on winter solstice (December 21st) and ran through January. One tradition was feasting until a log burned out; which, consequently, could take as long as 12 days. Ever heard of a Yule log for Christmas? Gasp! All of these “Christmas” traditions were around before Jesus?! I’m afraid so, and that’s not all. In the early years of Christianity, the birth of Jesus wasn’t even celebrated; Easter was the main holiday. The date of Jesus’ birth is not even mentioned in the Bible. It is believed he was born sometime during the middle of Spring. So why December 25th? Because Pope Julius I said so. It’s commonly believed that the church was trying to compromise with pagans in order to get them to join the church by adopting their traditions. By holding Christmas, originally known as the Feast of the Nativity, at the same time as ancient winter celebrations church leaders believed that the new Christian holiday would be widely embraced.
Now let’s take a look at where the War on Christmas originated. Ironically, the first War on Christmas was started by Christians. Yes, you read that right. 17th Century Puritans did not believe that the pagan tradition coincided with their interpretation of the Bible. Cut to 2005, when Fox News promoted the John Gibson book “The War on Christmas”. Gibson has been recorded as saying, “[that liberals were] tying the Christmas situation into secular progressive politics.” And so, began the new holiday tradition of denouncing anyone who does not say Merry Christmas.
Now that we’ve gotten the history lesson out of the way, let’s talk about the real the issue. Ope, wait… There isn’t one. “Happy Holidays” is not a “liberal insult to Christianity”. I am a Christian who says “Happy Holidays”; not to denounce my own religion, not to try to take anything away from Christ our Lord and Savior’s made up birthday date. I say it for the simple fact that Christmas is not the only holiday this time of year. I have never once, seen anyone get offended by being told Merry Christmas. While we’re on the topic of fake news, stop sharing the “People want Santa to be gender neutral” story. It’s utter bullshit. For love of Christmas, stop believing everything that is posted on the interwebs. Not everyone’s intentions are pure nor academic.
So, to recap, this Holiday Season (yes there’s more than just Christmas), let’s stop creating fights were there aren’t any. We have enough issues dividing us already. There is no need to make up fake wars and polls about Santa’s gender. Let’s just love each other, for a short while, and say whatever the hell makes you happy: Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! I need more whiskey in this eggnog!