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Christmas Is Gone — In More Ways Than One

When your Editor was a kid in the 1950s, at Christmas time, he always heard the refrain, “Let’s Put Christ Back in Christmas.” Back then, Christmas had become commercialized and consumerized, and it’s gotten much worse since then. Now the “Season’s Greetings” displays often go up in the stores before Halloween.

But at least back then, virtually everyone said “Merry Christmas.” But nowadays to say that to someone you don’t know to be a rather serious Christian is risky. Now people say “Happy Holidays” instead.

We noticed that when President Bush, reputed to be the most religious president ever, spoke recently at a December news conference, he said “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” not once but three times. President Bush is a macho guy, but still he doesn’t want to offend people needlessly. Yes, President Bush is willing to offend people — a good sign in a politician — but not with something so trivial, shall we say, as Merry Christmas. That even President Bush says “Happy Holidays” should tell us Christians about the sorry state of Christmas.

On the other hand — but not really — there’s a new A.M. radio station nationwide called Air America. It’s hard Left. Every host we’ve heard is quite hostile to Christianity, but not to Islam or Judaism. They don’t much like “conservative” Catholics, but they truly hate “fundamentalist” Protestants. (The worst offenders are the gentile hosts; the Jewish hosts tone it down a bit.) There are of course the usual station announcements, and in the month of December it was “Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” Of course they didn’t really mean have a Merry Christmas. It was really a clever taunt. That secular Lefties would mockingly say “Merry Christmas” is just another reminder of the sorry state of Christmas.

But every other radio station says “Happy Holidays,” as do the commercials. Businesses, above all, don’t want to offend potential customers — the Salvation Army was banned from Target stores — and for many businesses it is the month of December that keeps them out of the red. Indeed, for our national economy, the month of December is usually make or break.

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