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Merry Christmas. So shoot me

Christmas time is the best time of the year in America.

Regardless of your religious affiliation or conviction, wishing fellow Americans a Merry Christmas is in the good spirit of cheer, fellowship, happiness, relaxation, making room for one another.

While “Christ’s mass” had an obvious religious basis, it was originally┬áscheduled┬áto track its parent religion. Christmas always falls on the 25th day of the last month in the Gregorian calendar, December, just as Chanukah always falls on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. The two holidays therefore always fall near one another, and in America Chanukah (a commemoration of an improbable win for religious freedom against ethnic cleansing) has been strongly coopted to be more Christmas-like.

Over time in Western Europe, Christmas evolved to include gift giving, merrymaking, communal singing and declarations of faith, time with family. The befurred Scandinavian Saint Claus (Saint Klaus, or Nicholas, now Santa Claus) in his snowy winter environment became one of the defining symbols of the holiday.

Charles Dickens put the exclamation point on Christmas in the 1800s, through both strongly pointed opinion essays and his fiction stories arguing for a truly gentler, kinder, more forgiving time where the most important religious values would be brought to bear. And make the season happier, society more humane.

As an open society, America has come to embody the best, most inclusive aspects of this European legacy. It’s really remarkable, if you think about it, how inclusive America is, how open it is. To the point where Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, Buddhists, and others can equally feel a part of Christmas time.

It’s true that Christmas has become captured by materialism, that it has become largely secularized, and much of its original religious message has been blurred. But what is wrong with making a major religious holiday welcome to so many others who do not necessarily share in its most religious aspects? What is wrong with seeing the very religious values of tenderness, kindness, gentleness, love and happiness be widespread among everyone?

Because of aggressive anti-religion atheists, somehow wishing fellow Americans Merry Christmas became verboten. Well, I just reject that.

Christmas is now a quintessential and quintessentially American holiday. America’s best qualities are on display at Christmas time. To try and shame people from wishing one another a Merry Christmas is itself shameful. If you don’t observe Christmas, fine. Just wave, smile, and enjoy the happy spirit in which the greeting was given. Nothing bad is meant by it.

It is the spirit of America.

Merry Christmas, my fellow Americans, Merry Christmas.

And peace on earth.



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