this year i have become very aware of the dissention between various religious and non-religious groups on their right to hear –- or not to hear –- music of a religious nature while shopping in malls, attending “holiday” concerts, or walking past the salvation army worker who sings her favorite hymns and carols to help pass the long and often chilly hours of ringing that unmelodious bell.
group a says they should be allowed to perform and hear christmas hymns whenever and wherever they like, as it is their patriotic and god-given right. group b says they shouldn’t have to be “subjected to” music that tells of the coming of a holy entity in which they do not believe. group c says they don’t care what is sung or who sings it, as long as they don’t have to hear it before halloween is over.
as a christian, i enjoy the hymns. they reenforce my faith and remind me of the miracle that was the birth of the baby jesus. singing these hymns throughout advent and then on christmas eve often produces a lump in my throat. however, the carols appeal to my sense of christmas cheer, allowing me an opportunity, as i merrily deck my halls, to chuckle at the cheesiness of the lyrics and the slippery-slidey vocals of bing, frank, perry, and nat.
i am all for political correctness, but it has complicated christmas, hanukkah, kwanzaa, and various other juletide celebrations. can i send christmas cards to friends who may not celebrate christmas? or do i have to send non-specific “holiday” cards to them? for interfaith families, combining the holidays celebrated by each parent has become common. as you can read here, the fox television program the o.c. began the tradition of “chrismukkah.” thanks must go to the o.c. writers, as well as to adam brody, who so humorously and sweetly plays the enthusiastically bi-religious seth cohen. it’s all in good fun, but even here, they delete the “t” from the term, afraid to allude too much to the proverbial reason for the season.
i suppose the reason for this post is to say that it saddens me that, in a country as diverse as ours, we can’t put aside our differences -- or better yet, appreciate and learn from them -- and allow our fellow americans to celebrate as they choose. christmas is a season of miracles, joy, and peace. how can that be a bad thing?