Their View: Understanding the meaning of Christmas

Published on Monday, 25 December 2017 20:47
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For decades, beginning around the middle of the last century, many devout Christians have complained about an overemphasis on getting, giving and spending during this season - about the commercialization of Christmas. More recently we’ve had something new and perhaps even more disturbing: the weaponization of Christmas - the use of it for political purposes, mostly by cable TV personalities and at least one former reality TV star who is now in very high office. They have sounded the alarm about a “war” on the nation’s most popular holiday and the supposed oppression of those who would dare utter the words “Merry Christmas.”

In the past, we’ve suggested that less attention be paid at this time of year to seasonal greetings than to the words of the man whose birth Christians celebrate - words that express universal sentiments of kindness, generosity, forgiveness and compassion for the poor and despised. Somewhat the same might be said about a non-scriptural work that came along nearly two millennia after the birth of Jesus: Charles Dickens’ well-loved story of the season, “A Christmas Carol.”

Dickens is the subject of a movie, now in theaters, that describes him as “the man who invented Christmas.” This may be something of an exaggeration, but he was a man who thoroughly understood the spirit of the day. It’s eloquently expressed by one of his characters, who describes Christmas as “the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

-The Washington Post

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Monday, 25 December 2017 20:47. Updated: Monday, 25 December 2017 20:49.