So, this is Christmas.
It’s a line from a secular song about a Christian holiday, written to protest the Vietnam War by one of the most recognizable faces in popular western culture from the 20th century, John Lennon. The title of this now very popular Christmas song is “Happy Xmas War is Over”. It wasn’t an initial success when it was released so there was no controversy per se but the use of “Xmas” was once a controversy and a symptom of the “War on Christmas”. Lennon had already had his run-ins with American Christian conservatives when he dared compare the Beatles’ popularity to Christ’s, so the narrative caught on once it was pointed out. The irony here is Lennon’s anti-war song was considered to be a part of the War on Christmas.
The War on Christmas, in reality, in the Western world is nothing more than atheist friends asking ten thousand questions about the virgin birth. We are bombarded with advertising and nostalgia. And FOX NEWS always finds that one town where the city council won’t let a nativity scene be displayed and the pundits bloviate about Christians being under attack while CNN runs something about black Santa’s and we all move on to New Year’s. The routine is comforting.
The real reality is also that Christians end up tolerating or even adopting secular holiday symbols and traditions for the sake of the holiday spirit (whatever that is). Christmas trees are a pagan tradition and it’s hard not to overthink it but Christians just slapped a star on top and said “its the star that lead the Magi to Jesus” and poof — it’s super-duper Christmassy.
The Real War
Let’s take a peak beyond mainstream cable news narratives.
Two suicide bombers attacked a church packed with worshipers on Sunday in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight people and injuring at least 30 others. ISIS claimed responsibility. Murdering worshipers in houses of worship is their signature evil. https://t.co/IHEqXX4TBJ
— Ali H. Soufan (@Ali_H_Soufan) December 17, 2017
Christians in other parts of the world likely see that phrase, war on Christmas, a little differently. Today in Pakistan two suicide bombers walked into a church filled with hundreds of worshippers and blew themselves and 8 people up while injuring another 50. The local ISIS affiliate claimed the attacks through their media outlet, Almaq. However, they failed to topple the Christmas tree.
In Algeria, there’s a more hopeful outlook. The Algerian government has set up a Christmas market in its capital for the influx of African migrants fleeing Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. In a country that is 99 percent Sunni Muslim that is a significant gesture that should be applauded. Unfortunately, it is also a target for the hardliners who love to strike symbolic blows. Only time will tell.
In Egyptian Mada Mars’s English publication, the progressive American left sees Christmas trees as a weaponized symbols. Omar Robert Hamilton writes about the grand strategy of Israel, Egypt and the Sunni Gulf States to conspire to abandon Jerusalem to the Israelis. In one breath he claims The Muslim Brotherhood overplayed its actual power and in the next breath he says Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions better know in the Bernie Sanders circles as “BDS” is the “road that leads to Jerusalem”.
And what is the Zionist conspirators secret weapon? “Trump was flanked by two lone figures: Vice-President Mike Pence, the most powerful Christian evangelical in the world today, and a Christmas tree.” Hamilton writes. That’s right, he thinks US foreign policy is a design for Christian Zionists to bring about the rapture and therefore the destruction of the world. The projection of politicizing religious fervor coming from someone so aligned with Muslim Brotherhood doctrine and policy is priceless.
But that’s over there and we are over here.
Don’t be a Christmas warrior. Don’t correct people who greet you with”happy holidays”. Don’t yell at your coworker who demands a satisfyingly logical explanation of the birth of Christ. Take Kevin Williamson of the National Review’s advice and just enjoy it.