Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'Merry Excessmas' or Meaningful Advent?

A war on Advent?
Sarah Palin has just published a book "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas" in which she laments the fact that holiday shoppers are no longer greeted with "Merry Christmas" but something more generic like "Happy Holidays". To her, this is a sure sign that "zealot-like atheists" are waging a "war against Christmas" and are driving us toward secularism and the loss of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

William C. Wood, local professor of economics at James Madison University and a member of the Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren, looks at it differently. Our national celebration of Christmas has already become so pagan and anti-Christian, he says, that we ought to just call it what it is, a "Merry Excessmas", and call the Christian celebration something else, like "Holy Nativity".

Dr. Wood actually had a piece promoting this idea published in the Wall Street Journal a number of years ago, and has been crusading for this change ever since. Just separating the two celebrations, he believes, would make things a lot cleaner and clearer. Let the rest of the world have the greed-based holiday Christmas has become.

In addition, if we are really serious about observing Christmas, we should remember that that according to the Christian calendar, most of December has never been intended be "Merry", but a hopeful and prayerful time of waiting we call Advent. The Advent season ends with Nativity, which begins on Christmas Eve and continues for the "Twelve Days of Christmas". So in keeping with our Christian tradition, we shouldn't be greeting anyone with "Merry Christmas" anyway until it actually arrives, at which time we celebrate with abandonment.

All of which seems to be lost on Palin and others who appear o be waging a war on Advent, and want to bless Christmas as it has become, a season of "excessmas."
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