This boomer remembers a childhood when the Christmas holidays were considered by many to be a sacred time and a beautiful season, when colorful red, yellow, and green lights illuminating festive scenery, were widely displayed on private homes and lawns, in neighborhood church yards and at other public facilities. Even on the most frigid days, passersby wearing warm coats, hats and gloves would stop outside storefront windows and “Ooo” and “Ah” over nativity scenes or an animated Santa Clause and elves. But that was long ago, in a less tumultuous time, when it was not politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas.” And, as society transitioned to the contemporary “Happy Holidays” other changes occurred.
In recent years, the Christmas season seems diminished. It has evolved into an annual tug of war between believers and non-believers as Christians and atheists square off. One side upholds the occasion as a Holy Season celebrating the birth of Jesus; embellishing the event with religious exhibits, evergreen or artificial trees decorated with multi-colored ornaments and other signs of Christmas. Contrarily, opponents see the observance as a myth and express their disdain with public condemnation and strategically placed anti-religion signs. Each side is fundamentally devoted to their cause. Once in a while, the argument over the right or wrong of placing a nativity scene on public property is carried by the American Civil Liberties Union all the way to the Unites States Supreme Court.
Regardless of one’s belief or non-belief a mutual show of respect is owed to both sides. Atheists continue to advance their platform without giving second thought to their status as non-believers, and they do not see their conviction as a precursor to suffering consequences in an afterlife touted by Christians. On the other hand, old school Christians persist in defending Christmas as they saw it in the years B.A. (before atheist) intrusion.
Whether the greeting exchanged during this festive time of year is Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Bah Humbug, undoubtedly most people would prefer to see joy in the world regardless of the season.