On Scrooge and Christmas transcending First Amendment…

So this is Christmas. Well, Christmas Eve almost.

I don’t have TV reception (don’t have cable). So I have not watched “A Christmas Carol” (by Charles Dickens) this year (didn’t get the DVD either).

My favorite part is when Scrooge angrily laments that he will have to give his clerk Bob Cratchit the day off — with pay! Rob a man blind! He snorts. Christmas Bah! Humbug! he swears.

I had to laugh when the bosses where I work complained that everyone wants Christmas off. We don’t get it off paid, though (I don‘t think they saw the Scrooge-related irony).

There’s always a complaint that the true meaning of Christmas, recognizing of the birth of Jesus Christ, the primary Christian prophet, has been lost in commercialism. Actually historians say Jesus (the person who so much is written about, whoever he was) was probably born on another date in another time of year. But the Christian church came to realize that it could more easily promote its new religion if it aligned its celebration of the birth of Jesus with the existing pagan observance of the Winter Solstice — at least that is what I understand.

And here’s a strange one. I was brought up in a quite non-religious household. I have never been a church goer even in my adulthood. Yet, each Christmas when my children were young I read to them the Christmas story, or birth of Jesus, out of the Holy Bible.

Just as Santa Claus and shopping for presents or hoping to get them and Christmas trees and Christmas lights and Frosty the Snowman were all part of Christmas to me as a kid, so was that tale of the birth of Jesus.

As I recall it was re-enacted at public school programs. There were no complaints, as far as I knew. I suppose that does not mean it did not bother some people. Maybe Jewish people, of who I knew few, were not too keen on it. I don’t really know. My father was a non-believer but I don’t think it bothered him. He had his beliefs or non beliefs, but he was always live and let live.

I just enjoyed reading the story to the kids and maybe thought they ought to at least be exposed to part of our culture. Yes, whether you are Christian or not, Jesus is part of the culture in this country. Actually it’s just kind of like literature. If you are up on it then you have a fuller life because, among other things, you don’t feel left out when people mention the subject. And so much of our history and ways of doing things are connected to this story.

And I used to see hypocrisy in all the commercialism around Christmas, but really it’s just about celebration, and as it happens people often spend money in celebrations.

Oh, and these people who object to references to Christmas and Jesus and such in public places or at public schools — get a life! Yes, there is or may be technically a First Amendment separation of church and state conflict there and there are people of other faiths and of non-faiths, but who is really hurt? It could get out of hand if programs, particularly in public schools, got too much into the religious aspect. But as long as those involved use good sense and just have plays with mangers and shepherds in the field — hey it’s just a story about Christmas, a traditional celebration in this nation. Who has ever been hurt by it? I think Christmas transcends the First Amendment.

There could be an argument but then we have to have Islamic celebrations and so on in schools — and I have read that somewhere they do or at least have school holidays based on Islamic beliefs now (don’t know too much about that). Well maybe we could have programs recognizing various religions in communities where that is appropriate. School boards elected to represent their respective constituents can figure that out — no need to bother the Supreme Court.

Yes, so this is Christmas. And I am not working and actually I am getting paid because I’m taking a paid vacation.

And I can just here the bosses now: “Bah! Humbug!”

P.s.

In the interests of fairness and keeping my job, I have to say, and I am sincere, that my bosses are not really Scrooges, but I am an over-the-road trucker and in this business you get paid primarily on the basis of those wheels rolling — and not only do I get paid that way, so does everyone else connected with it really. And loads do move on or around Christmas. You know, that’s how everyone gets all that stuff, from basics to luxuries.

———————–

So this is Christmas

And what have you done?

Another year over

And a new one just begun

By John Lennon

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