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Linus got it right

I am always a little baffled by the "War on Christmas". I don't think I've ever seen it personally, outside the internet, until today. I passed a lumber store on Greenbriar that said "Happy Birthday Jesus" in big letters.

I suppose that's more or less accurate, but it just seemed overly aggressive. What's the point in reclaiming the holiday? I don't really care about the nitpicky arguments about the actual date of Jesus's birth or the evolution of the holiday season. I just think that the sentiment of the holiday, regardless of faith, is lovely.

I think Charles Schultz got it more or less right in A Charlie Brown Christmas.



And harping on the Jesus part of Linus's recitation of Luke forgets the rest of it.
"'8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
And while the "a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" part is clearly important to Christians, the emphasized parts of the passage means that this holiday is for everyone, regardless of faith or devotion or how much any one of us goes to Church. It's a beautiful sentiment, and it's not one to be selfishly held onto for the select few.

Celebration and devotion to one's family and friends isn't an exclusive province of anyone. And I think it's a good thing that such sentiments have transcended religion and have become ubiquitous throughout many different cultures. I have Jewish friends that put up Christmas trees and exchange gifts on Christmas. I have Muslim friends that host lovely parties on Christmas eve in celebration of the holiday. This isn't a bad thing.

I'm nominally Catholic. I understand the celebration and the history of Christmas within the Roman Cathoic Church. I also understand that this is also a time for family and friends and extensions of kindness and generocity. Those sentiments aren't and shouldn't be relegated to a particular faith. And as much as certain Christians fear that their special holiday has been co-opted, as historians will point out that they did centuries ago, it's better to be inclusive than exclusive.

On earth peace, good will toward men. Indeed.