|Mike Lushington copy of Grains of Sand of Dec. 24|
Apparently, the word "Christmas" is now politically incorrect.
Canada Post has launched an advertising campaign which uses the old carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, as its base, only now the title has been changed to The Twelve Days of Giving. The City of Toronto has recently decorated and lit its huge annual Holiday Tree in place of its old Christmas Tree. Federal and Ontario politicians are being encouraged to refrain from wishing people a Merry Christmas and to substitute it with Happy Holidays or some other inoffensive greeting. It would seem that there is a movement afoot to relegate the word to the scrap heap now reserved for such offensive words and names as Nazi, Nigger, Wop ... the reader can continue the list.
Like many people in modern society, I have my own, perhaps unconventional, ideas concerning religious beliefs. I make no attempt to justify them to others, let alone try to convert them. I appreciate that most of my close friends respect that and do not try to persuade me to "see the errors of my ways." At the same time, I love the Christmas season. I love the spirit of sharing, of giving and of receiving: I love the parties and gatherings, especially those which have begun to acquire their own "traditional" status within our own small circle; I love the good food, the lights and all the trappings which have become so much a part of the season.
And I deeply love the music of Christmas. Now, I am not trying to be offensive here when I state that I am not referring to Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman or any of those other modern pop abominations. I refer to the wonderful legacy of sacred and traditional music of the past thousand years. Certainly the Christmas season has been the single greatest source of inspiration for beautiful music in our culture. To suggest that most of it should be scrapped because the public airing of it might offend some of our Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or other non-Christian citizens is preposterous. But yet, there are some out there who, in the interests of "inclusively" (terrible word that is) would demand just that. (23)
Why do I suspect that if any similar minded politicians, public philosophers or other "fair-minded" individuals were to suggest that those very conspicuous religious celebrations of other faiths be homogenized that there would be a cry heard across the land by Human Rights Activists? No one obliges people of other faiths, or of no faith at all, to participate in any of our celebrations at this time of year. The last time I looked, though, we still live in a free society and one which is founded on basically Christian principles. Christmas is the heart of these principles (just as one might argue that Easter is their soul) and to suggest anything otherwise is to trivialize and further commercialize a season which still has the power to inspire awe and simple love in even the most hardened of us.
Withal, I will continue to wish everyone I meet with a sincere, hearty Merry Christmas - and hope that you all find that joy and peace which is so much a part of the season. And so, to all of you..
Mike Lushington, Dalhousie