Happy Holidays — WWJT?

Watch out everyone! The liberals are out to steal your Christmas again. They already stole your flawless healthcare system. Next thing you know they’ll come for your kids.

Yes, just as Christmas trees and mistletoe have come to signify the approaching holidays, so has the right-wing’s pre-Christmas hysteria that the liberals want to abolish the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Some folks are always up in the air, more and more each year, at the thought a vast conspiracy exists to exchange the greeting of “Merry Christmas” with the more secular “Happy Holidays.”

Now I don’t know how long the term “Happy Holidays” has been around. It may have started or at least gained prominence with the popular Irving Berlin World War II tune “Happy Holiday.” The song was sung by Bing Crosby in the film “Holiday Inn.” The film title supposedly inspired the name for the hotel chain. Part of the song’s meaning expressed the wish that the joy of the Christmas and New Year’s season could last all year. It certainly must have been a bittersweet song for Berlin considering one particular Christmas past.

Berlin came from a Belarus-Jewish background and though known as America’s first Jewish songwriter, he and his Catholic wife celebrated Christmas while their children were growing up though they stopped the practice once the children were grown. Though “celebrating” the holiday it was surely a sad occasion for the couple. Their only son died on Christmas Day in 1928 at the age of three-weeks-old. Berlin, of course, wrote a number of other popular songs relating to Christian holiday themes such as “White Christmas ” and “Easter Parade” as well as “God Bless America.”

I never really thought much about the greeting “Happy Holidays” any more than I did “Season’s Greetings.” I found it a practical wish for those who celebrate both Christmas and New Year holidays. I can understand those of faith who see Christmas the more important of the two. Though as I also grew up I came to understand the celebrations of other faiths during the “Season,” for instance the Jews.

What I can’t understand is why many who profess they are Christians today back Israel? I say that because I remember many Christians I knew while growing up found little tolerance for Judaism, or even some religions within the realm of Christianity for that matter.

Granted, the celebration of Christmas does not carry the gravitas for me as it does for those who profess Christianity. I see Christmas more as a secular holiday, while I also celebrate the birth of Jesus who I see as a great prophet. I like and always have liked New Year’s for the revelry and the day to toast that the coming year will be better than the last.

Frankly, I sometimes wonder what Jesus would think about people so bent out of shape over semantics when it comes to “how” one should greet others in celebration of his birth. Jesus just never seemed as if he let petty matters get to him. And, in a world where there always is turmoil, would not its people do much better by focusing on those things that perhaps Jesus viewed as more important?