I and my friends are getting some Christmas cards from the US, except that they aren’t really Christmas cards.
They all wish me Happy Holidays, making me wonder exactly what holidays we’re celebrating.
Ramadan? Hanukah? Schweinfest? Winter solstice? All of them? None of them? Is Christmas allowed to figure only as the modifier of ‘shopping’?
Even some who do celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ still send out cards leaving room for such guesswork.
I haven’t lived in America for 31 years, so I don’t know if any actual Christmas cards can be bought there. I suspect they still can be, but not easily.
This in a country that prides herself on her Constitution, complete with its First Amendment guaranteeing every conceivable freedom, including one of religious expression.
In the country where I grew up, the USSR, Christmas was celebrated clandestinely if at all.
In my parents’ generation, wishing someone a Happy Christmas could earn a one-way ticket to the GULAG, if not a bullet in the nape of the neck. In my own generation, the consequences would have been less drastic, but there would have been consequences, mostly career-related.
And I along with other Russian children took delight in decorating a New Year tree, which was how the Christmas tree had been known since the advent of universal social justice.
That was par for the course, for we lived under the worst tyranny the world has ever known. Here, however, I’m talking about “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. It appears that the bravery required to exercise freedom just may be in short supply.
The US Constitution is a written document, but demonstrably competing against it is the set of unwritten laws I call glossocratic. These laws aren’t yet enforced by the courts, at least not widely. They are banged into the people’s heads by extra-legal means, and no appeals are allowed.
The logic of shunning Christmas escapes me. After all, Americans don’t mind celebrating Thanksgiving, and pilgrims offered those original thanks to Jesus Christ, not Zeus, Allah or Zarathustra.
Granted, not all Americans are Christians – not all of anyone are these days. Yet it takes rank cretinism to claim that non-Christians have nothing to celebrate on 25 December.
For we owe our whole civilisation to the birth of Jesus Christ, regardless of whether or not it actually took place on that day. Even those Americans who deny the divinity of Jesus or indeed his historicity dine every day on the fruits of Christendom, which is how Western civilisation was called for the best part of two millennia.
Even their much-vaunted Constitution, compiled as it was mostly by agnostics, has clear Christian antecedents, as do most fundamental Western laws.
Those same celebrators of androgynous Happy Holidays look at paintings on Christian subjects, listen to music either coming from or inspired by liturgy, enjoy the scientific discoveries that couldn’t have been made in any other than Christian civilisation.
One has to come to the melancholy conclusion that, when Christ no longer matters, neither does Christendom. In the absence of clay, no ceramic vessel can be made.
Taking the place of faith-inspired culture is the glossocracy-inspired fear of giving offence. But the fear itself isn’t real but glossocratic.
I’ve been friends with a few Muslims in my life, more Jews, agnostics and atheists. Yet I’ve never met a single member of those groups who’d be genuinely offended when wished a Happy Christmas.
One has to be not just impious but downright barbaric to be insulted by an expression of that wish and, though some of my friends are impious, none is barbaric. Neither, one suspects, are many of those Happy Holidays Americans.
They’ve just lost the very modicum of courage required to buck glossocratic laws, to refuse to accept that Christmas offends anybody. It doesn’t really take that much mettle to do that.
Perhaps it would take a bit more to throw those glossocratic laws back into the faces of their propagandists, those who insist on various groups’ mandatory sense of constant offence. Yet their glossocratic tyranny is as oppressive as communism or fascism, perhaps more so.
Those same people who can resist intellectual rape often find themselves helpless when exposed to intellectual seduction. If those Happy Holidays cards are any indication, there were more anti-communists in the Russia of my youth than there are anti-glossocrats in America today .
Still, God loves us all, and it’s a small gesture of gratitude to wish his son a happy birthday.
So Happy Christmas to all of you! May God, in whom you may or may not believe, prove that he believes in you by making your year successful and unsullied by any serious problems.