My excellent friend and personal concierge Lila told me the other night that I didn't seem to be as big of a Scrooge as I typically am this time of year. Well, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that I was slacking off in that department but I have been kind of busy this season what with one damn thing or another.
I was reminded of this after I picked up my car at the shop Friday afternoon. The manager shook my hand and said "Happy Holidays." Then I remembered.
There's a war on. Or at least some would have you believe that there is anyway.
Google the phrase "war on Christmas" and your browser will sniff out all manner of sites devoted to the subject. Most of them, as far as I can tell, believe that there are murky nefarious groups out there devoted to the insidious eventual erasure of all of the religious significance of the Holiday. Indeed, it is thought that some of the groups, probably the same ones that are behind the Federal Reserve, the Gay Agenda and the suppression of the true place of birth of Barack Obama, are hellbent on reducing the Christmas story to that of a myth. Which caused the irrepressible Stephen Colbert to ask of these folks " What part of a story about 3 wise men crossing the desert in the dead of winter to follow a star they had seen in a dream in order to give gifts to a baby god born to a virgin do you regard as myth?"
Or something along those lines anyway.
Of course, just because something is mythical doesn't mean that it is void of meaning. George Washington was a real life human being. That he did not a) chop down the cherry tree or b) refuse to lie about his having done so (which he had not done) is irrelevant to the truth embodied in the myth that Washington was a pillar of rectitude even as a young man.
There's also a difference between a myth and lie. The above passage is an example of a myth. Saying that Barack Obama was not born in the good ole USA is a lie and goddamned lie at that.
So I'm good with myths. Or at least I'm not offended by the notion of their prominence in stories from the Bible. But I digress.
I recently read an article which posits that the so-called War Against Christmas has ended. And Christmas lost. You can read the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-james-martin-sj/war-on-christmas_1_b_795796.html .
I greatly admire Father Martin and am reading one of his books. His admonition to eschew the crass commercialization of the season and to make the Holiday season smaller and more contemplative is well taken regardless of your particular religious zip code.
But back to "Happy Holidays." I am not offended by neither the neutral salutation nor the traditional "Merry Christmas!" I will go Father one better and say that the actual Feast Day of Christmas has been so devalued in the consciousness through course of dealing and usage of trade (to borrow a phrase from the Uniform Commercial Code) that the expression "Merry Christmas" has practically no more religious significance then "Gesundheit!".
How's that for being a Scrooge Lila? I have to admit that felt good!
Oh. Merry Christmas!