Couple of years ago I wrote about this same topic, in the last narrative in which I engaged three issues, the preoccupation with the history of Christmas in the world and the impact of the West in the understanding and interpretation of Christmas. Then, I argued, that the celebration of Christmas in the modern world was being affected by three processes: commercialization of the phenomena and the experiences of those who participate in it; there was and still is the gradual if not conscious secularization of the idea and the absolute necessarily for the true believers to assert publicly what they feel privately. Being the majority in a large number of communities around the world, modern Christians should not see their religion as a badge of shame before peoples and persons who suffered colonial and imperial offenses. Those who resort to such tactics are secular humanists who abhor many of the words in the language of the scriptures. Building on the modern languages of the secular humanists and the post modernists, such individuals see Christmas differently from the true believers in the history and message of Christ to the world. One clear example of this state of affairs is the recent departure of Christopher Higgins, a public intellectual who died in a hospital bed in Texas with a legacy that challenges all believers by profane words: "God is not great." His passing away is just one more instance in the stormy and uneasy relationship between Western Christians and their fellow citizens who employ the language of modernity and rationalism to assert their presence in the world. Being a Trotsky who metamorphosed as a born-again right wing thinker, who possessed as double-edged sword that could be used against the Left and the Right in his political debates, Higgins et al are ironically the sources of reaffirmation of our faith that there is life beyond the grave. Those of us who were his contemporaries still share in common with ancestors who would witness his journey though the mysterious channels of being between this life and the next. Much as we mourned with his family and relatives who did not share his beliefs, we call upon the true believers here and in the next world to know that there are still billions of us on this planet who do enjoy the English language without being influenced and captured by the intoxicating liquor from the likes of Higgins.
Apart from the atheistic counterattack on the celebration of Christmas, there is the phenomenon of distortion of the holiday through the injection of bitter feelings from people who see racism and anti-Semitism as evidence of their exclusion of the past. This recent phenomenon is most obvious in the ethnification of the characters acting the events about Christ and his birth. Although advocates of cultural pluralism and religious freedom in the West today would not mind sharing the space and time of the Christmas with all peoples in the country, their feelings and attitudes have exacerbated our problem of celebration without difficulties. This has made Christmas the American hotdog caught in the rolls of Kwanza for the Blacks and the Hanukah of the American Jewish community. This current development plays well in the eyes of the business community on the one hand and in the language of the political class on the other.
Again, when we look at Christmas and its impact on the Western cultures and its people, we must factor in the feelings and expectations of the immigrants who too celebrate the event. The commercial nature of the holidays has caught many of them like Pavlovian dogs in the chase for badly needed bones of gratification. Caught in the web of Wart Mat and similar commercial structures, and dancing with joy because of the creature comforts that flow from their warehouses, many of these immigrants have yearned for things to take home during their visit. As a result, in the midst of this global financial crisis many of the Christians with intention to travel during Christmas have postponed till better times. Rather than spending the limited cash in hand, many have now adjusted themselves to the headaches of a Christmas suffering from the slings and arrows of poverty. Being in the fish of poverty, many people from the developing areas of the world are depressed but not despondent. Their faith in the metaphysical message of the scriptures is alive and their hope and labor of work for Christ is ever-growing
In conclusion, I would say that celebrating Christmas and the challenges of poverty here in the United States and other parts of the world, certain points need to be made here. First of all, one should assert that modern Christians must respond seriously and confidently to the impact of secularization and commercialization of the holidays. Secondly, the spiritual impact as well the effects of the teachings of the scriptures must be kept alive so that the anti-religious elements are no longer unwittingly harbor as termites within the churches and places of worship. The third point to make here is to revisit the words of one of the American writers whose journalism and literary productions led him to write a book on Heretics. This was G.K. Chesterton, who is remembered as the "Prince of Paradox." In his language of humor and wit he travelled in the mental estates of several English-speaking writers such as Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, H.G.Wells, James McNeill, Arnold Huxley and Mr. G.W. Foote. In a chapter, entitled "Christmas and the Aesthetes", he argued that modernity and the attendant circumstances of the age have affected our opinions on and attitudes to life and human experiences. As a final point, one could say that his views describing Huxley as "the last and noblest of those stoics who have never understood the Cross", Chesterton was sending a message to the likes of Christopher Higgins who was neither a stoics nor a person who was allergic to pleasure units and other creature-comforts Furthermore, when he added that "If he (Huxley) had understood Christianity he would have known that there never have been, and never can be, any Christianity that is not corybantic" A last word one could express my greetings to my readers and their loved ones and friends around the world "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The authore is the founder of Voices of Women and Children, you can visit her at www.vowac.org