On Sunday afternoon I attended a Christmas choral program at my wife’s parish, Our Lady of Sorrows. The music was wonderful. As I listened to the anthems and carols, I thought on the loss to the world if the secularists should ever succeed in eradicating Christmas from Western cultural life and memory. The secular world is incapable of producing such beauty and grace. Oh how dismal and empty the holiday season would become if the story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were to be driven back into the ghetto of the Church. How awful it would be if “Silver Bells,” “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snow Man” should become the principal fare of the season. All would suffer. All would be impoverished. One does not need to be a believer to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of Christmas. I am reminded of the old professor in “The Bishop’s Wife” who finds himself holding onto the symbols of Christmas, despite his skepticism.
Today I wished a shopkeeper “Merry Christmas.” “How nice,” he said, “to hear someone say ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays.’”
With all our heart and energies, Christians and all folk of good will must resist the political campaign to eliminate Christmas. This campaign ultimately flows from a barbarism of sentiment, drivel, violence and greed. The world may not know it, but it needs the story and music of Christmas. The world may not know it, but it needs to annually hear and experience the divine promise of peace and joy.