A close acquaintance of mine voiced objection to the lighting of the National Christmas tree, which occurred on the first day of this month. Red, white and blue LED lights were illuminated. I find no offense in this practice, which for me is a secularized event, even though I acknowledge its connection to the Christmas season. Kids who visited Santa, as I did decades ago, do so in the days and weeks before Christmas. Neither Santa nor his elves visit us during Arbor Day, the Fourth of July or Veterans Day. He is connected with Christmas, although like the tree, his purpose is far removed from the true religious meaning of December 25th.
A Christmas tree is not quite the nativity scene. Readers who have more knowledge of the New Testament than I can inform us if a Christmas tree with a star on top and wrapped gifts underneath is mentioned in the Gospels. Perhaps, Santa truly is a religious figure, since like the three wise men, he comes bearing gifts.
Santa and saint are separated by only 1 letter. Hmm...
I am sure that many children have contemplated the mystery of how Santa was able to appear in so many department stores simultaneously. Any thoughts here? I assumed that his reindeer simply transported him at supersonic speed, although, perhaps, there is another explanation.
Similarly, I do not fine our national motto ‘in God we trust’ offensive or a violation of the separation of church and state. It has taken on, in my view, a secular meaning.
Fear of offense has led many individuals and organization to sanitize their Christmas greetings using phrases that contain all the mirth and meaning of a recorded phone menu message from airline companies. Doesn’t Seasons Greetings really nail it? How about Happy Holidays?
At 4 p.m. today the National Menorah will be kindled on the White House grounds. The menorah, arguably more of a religious symbol than a tree, is generally not the object of public protest. Both the menorah and the tree are illuminated. Who would object to bringing a little more light into the world?