The War on Christmas
Although I have felt the Christmas spirit to greater and lesser degrees over the years, this is the first year I could not feel it at all. Instead of playing "A Christmas Carol" or "It's a Wonderful Life" or anything else that connects a person to the greater spiritual reality we live in, we were treated to a non-stop airing of "A Christmas Story" about a kid wanting a BB gun and the dysfunctional family and society he lives in.
In years past, it seemed as if there was a general moratorium on the worldly goings-on as we turn our attention to the greater meaning of our existence during the holiday season beginning with Halloween and ending with New Year's Day. There would be a gradual build up of holiday programs with the airing of seasonal classics beginning with "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown."
Then, after Thanksgiving, there would be every manner of Christmas story and Christmas special and Christmas oriented TV series episode, but, all of them treated the subject with respect and dignity and showed how the true spirit of Christmas was about enlargening one's own spirit beyond selfishness and to see the greater wonder in the world outside our skin and the greater mystery that gives rise to us all.
As a Buddhist and a half Japanese none of this ever bothered me for they are like so many fingers pointing to that which is greater than oneself. In fact, there was in recent years a Jewish story aired on the Disney channel which I also enjoyed.
What bothers me are stories that fail to connect to any greater spirituality whether religious or secular. I especially missed getting to see all the versions of "A Christmas Carol" this year and only got to see the last half of one with Patrick Stewart. My favorite is the one with Alastair Sim but I often wonder why the one with Henry Winkler (An American Christmas Carol, 1979) is never shown. It must have cut too close to the bone for the puppet masters to let that one on the air ever again given the war against everything that came of out of Depression Era policies such as Social Security.
The one Christmas special I miss most of all is "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It gets to the very heart of what I am speaking in this post. About how commercialism has taken over everything and the true spirit of peace, fellowship, and goodwill are but vanishing memories of a bygone time.
What I see on this bright, beautiful day today is a country that has lost the war on Christmas and it is Bill O'Really and his ilk who have won by killing everything that makes Christmas not just a holiday but a true holy day. "God rest ye merry gentleman...tidings of comfort and joy." I could sure use some of that now.