In times past, four sabbaths before Christmas was the onset of Advent, a time when Christians prepared for the coming birth of the Heavenly King, and denied themselves some small pleasure to mortify the flesh.
It was not primarily a season of frantic shopping, but of solemn spiritual preparation for a twelve-day feast lasting past the New Year. It was a time for works of mercy and charity. But time is a strong, unmerciful tyrant, and now we have new traditions.
Every year, immediately after Thanksgiving, the War on Christmas begins. The sneering of the sick-minded, black-hearted (and small-manhooded) begins.
The colored lights, the festive kindness, the gay cheer that boldly defies the dark drear of winter, the singing of carols soaring starward, the love of family and friends, and, most of all the images of Saint Nicholas, the Star of Bethlehem, and the baby in the manger, all heap burning coals on the heads of our friends on the Left, and cause them pain.
Why does your friendly neighborhood Leftist war on Christmas? Why does he hate it so? Other writers, wiser than I, cannot answer:
No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
On the other hand, the good Dr. Seuss penned one of those Christmas books that somehow manages to mention Santa without mentioning Saint Nicholas, or Christ. So maybe he honestly did not know.
Why must a Leftist hate Christmas, then? Let us look at it as a multiple choice question.
- (1) A Leftist is rude.
- (2) A Leftist is a killjoy.
- (3) A Leftist is divisive.
- (4) A Leftist hates America.
- (5) A Leftist hates Christ.
- (6) All of the above.
Let us ponder each possible answer:
First, the War on Christmas is waged to be rude.
It is rude, but this is not why Uncle Screwtape encourages his useful idiots to be idiots about it. Rudeness is merely a means to an end.
This war is not just a matter of public buildings replacing baby Jesus from nativity scenes with Kami the AIDS-awareness muppet, or a public schools holding A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS as a school play but deleting one scene where Linus quotes the Gospel of Luke. These are just steps.
It is not just a matter of trotting out tired old chestnuts about Christmas trees being pagan in origin or Christ’s birth being a retelling of the birth of Horus, or Mithra, or Krishna.
Let us digress a moment to remember that all those old chestnuts are bogus. All fake news.
The practice of decorating Christmas trees dates from Eighteenth Century Germany, which had not been pagan for over a thousand years.
Horus’s birth was traditionally celebrated in August, not December, and he was born to avenge his father’s death, not to cure mankind of sin. Mithra was not born, he was carved out of a rock.
As for Krishna, he was not the firstborn of a virgin, but the eighthborn of a married matron. An evil king seeks his life, but not for the reason Herod sought Christ’s. At Krishna’s birth, Vishnu appears from heaven, and whisks the mother away, brushing evil serpents and raging floods from her path. Not a long donkey ride to Egypt here.
She gives Krishna to a kindly cowherd to raise, and takes the cowherd’s daughter in swap. Upon returning, when the tyrant enters the dungeon seeking the child’s life, the cowherd’s daughter is transfigured into the goddess Yogamaya and ascends to heaven. Later, Krishna grows up to seduce rural maidens. No getting lost in a temple arguing points of law with old graybeards for this boy.
Besides, even if each jot and tittle of Christmas tradition was taken from pagan forebears unchanged except for the name “HORUS” crossed out in bright red crayon, and the name “CHRIST” crudely thrust in, so what?
The pagan forebears of the Christians were themselves the very people who converted and became Christian. Their culture also was baptized. Words, dress, architecture, calendar, was unchanged. The names of months, weekdays, planets, constellations, were kept.
Everything they kept was a pagan survival into Christianity. It all became Christian.
What was left behind was sodomy, polygamy, pederasty, divorce (yes, the Romans had that), contraceptive pharmaceuticals (yes, the Romans had that, too) and the belief that Caesar was sacred, but not human life.
The pagan things that did not survive are the very things the modern world wants to return to us: sodomy, polygamy, pederasty, divorce, contraception. A despot worshipped as a god. Life held cheaply. Some returned came in the 1930’s, some in the 1960’s. Some are coming.
So, to make it clear: putting pretty lights on a tree, or weaving a wreath of evergreens, is not a pagan survival. These things did not spring out of Christianity. The only thing that honestly can be said to have sprang out of paganism, and which survives to the modern day, is Christianity.
But these silly, trifling slurs and insults against nativity scenes and Charlie Brown plays, and these silly, trifling arguments about the alleged pagan roots of Christmas are not being done to change décor nor change minds. They are done to affront, not to persuade.
Win or lose, the bickering destroys something of the Christmas spirit. The rudeness is an instrument to kill the joy and pleasure of the season, to make a shared solemnity into a bone of contention.
It is done to ruin the fun.
So the War on Christmas is waged to kill the fun of Christmas, to end the joy.
Leftist spoil the joy of Christmas not because Leftists are killjoys. They are, of course, but that is not the full answer.
This loss of Christmas traditions and Christmas spirit is part of the same social movement that divides whites from blacks and tells each to hate the other, divided old from young, men from women, foreign from native, labor from management, homo from hetero, trans from cis, rich from poor.
These divisions do, indeed, kill joy. But that loss is a side effect. The division is the point.
In this case, they divide the Christians from the seculars. They tell the Christians it is rude and unchristian to defend themselves. They tell the seculars that the evil Christians are backward bigots shoving silly superstitions down everyone’s throat. Both sides are told the smallest compromise is unthinkable.
So the War on Christmas is waged to divide us. Again, this is not the full answer.
They want to divide America to destroy the American dream. That is where the real battle takes place. The war is not against flesh and blood, but a matter of spirit. In this case, the spirit of America.
The reason for the War on Christmas is to change the habits and expectations, the spirit, if you will, of the American culture into something else.
The War on Christmas is waged because they hate the spirit of America. They do, but that is not the full answer.
They hate whence that spirit comes.
America, like it or not, is based on ideals springing from British Common Law, including the Magna Charter. English Common Law is based on Roman Canon Law, which is based on Biblical laws and principles.
And we know how the Left feels about the Bible, and about Christ.
Even your Leftist friends who claim to be good Christians, and who say they love Christ, do not. If they loved Him they would do what He said.
The War on Christmas is waged because they hate Christ. They do, but even this is not the full answer.
They hate the freedom, peace, enlightenment and goodwill Christian values and Christian civilization brought into the world. They hate everything associated with our civilization down to the last iota.
They hate Christendom. They hate life and the culture of life.
Here, at last, is the full answer. The final end for which all this rude, killjoy, unpatriotic and antichristian commotion is made, is their hatred of the culture of life.
From the culture of life springs (1) our faith, which begets (2) the America dream, including the concepts of equal rights protected under the rule of law, which begets (3) our mutual goodwill, which begets (4) the joy when all artificial divisions cease, which begets (5) and the courtesy born of mutual respect, and respect for all human life. This respect bridges all divides.
This is what the War on Christmas rejects. All of it. In other words, the full answer is all of the above.
Note that one does not need to be a Christian, or even to like Christians, to want to live in a land which reveres life as sacred.
Even an agnostic might want not to live where his unborn daughter, without his knowledge or permission, can be murdered by her mother nine months into the pregnancy, dismembered, and the body parts sold.
Even an atheist might want not to live where, once he falls ill, and over the objection of his relatives ready and able to pay for his recovery, a faceless bureaucrat may sentence him to death by the lingering torment of starvation and dehydration, while he weakly whispers and croaks for help to indifferent nurses and passing janitors.
Even a skeptic might want not to live where souls compassionate enough to offer to pray for the victims and survivors of tragedies are not mocked and heckled.
Agnostic, atheists, and skeptics benefit from the goodfellowship inherent in the culture of life.
Politeness encourages goodfellowship. Rudeness erodes it. Shared rituals, even with those skeptical of what such rituals mean, nonetheless encourage goodfellowship. Isolation erodes it.
The secular world sees nothing but a remorseless power struggle between pressure groups divided by race, sex, class, faction, and background. Each opposes the other. Each is isolated.
Secularism cannot provide good fellowship.
In the secular world, nothing is sacred, hence life is not sacred. Human life is a means to an end. When unproductive, has no value. Desecration of life always means devaluation.
There is no worldly reason to be polite to an enemy you hate, a rival you oppose, or an underling or weakling you hold in contempt. Nor is there worldly reason to seek goodfellowship with a stranger you will never see again.
Why join them singing carols together, rich with poor, black with white, sick with hale, high with humble? Those of other classes and races and factions are competitors or foes. The weak and lowly are of no worldly use to you.
And in the secular view, this world is the only world there is. Worldly reasons are the sole reasons.
In the secular world of hard, cold, facts, it is a cold, hard fact that some men are weak, some babies are yet unborn, some cripples are comatose. There is no worldly reason to hold the lives of such helpless, wrinkly, stinky things to be sacred, or even significant.
In the culture of life, a reason exists: a mysterious reason. A mystical reason, rooted in the truth beyond the world. It is a truth beyond life.
The truth beyond life is this: Life is sacred.
In the culture of life, life is a gift from the hand of the Creator. It is not ours to decide to keep or to destroy. In the culture of life, your life is not your own.
This means your unborn daughter or your grandmother in the terminal ward can live, despite any pragmatic, dead-eyed, empty-hearted, cost-cutting reason to murder her.
That is the end goal of all of this. The end goal is a black mass where innocent life is sacrificed. Nothing is sacred but the whim of Caesar. No one prospers, but Moloch feeds.
Yes, strange as it sounds, that is what is at stake.
The War on Christmas is a war by the unhuman against the human.
Only by knowing that God once became a helpless human baby may we see that all helpless, wrinkly stinky humans are godlike, because they partake of His image and likeness.
Only by seeing humans as godlike can we treat them as humans.
And that is what it is really all about, Charlie Brown.
John C. Wright is a retired attorney, newspaperman and editor, who was only once on the lam and forced to hide from the police. He is an acclaimed science fiction novelist, winner of the prestigious Dragon Award for Best Novel, and holds the record for the most Hugo Award nominations for a single year. He presently works as a writer in Virginia, where he lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children: Pingping, Orville, Wilbur, and Just Wright.