As Americans of faith, we also see a dangerous assault on the true meaning of this sacred day. But our outrage has little to do with a few examples of people saying ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’ We believe the real assault on Christmas is how a season of peace, forgiveness and goodwill has been sidelined by a focus on excessive consumerism.It was addressed to members of the Religious Right like Dr. James Dobson, who held his "don't shop at these stores because they dare to accept that there are other religions, beliefs, and holidays besides Christmas" speech on his radio show, according to Americans United (where I got the excerpts from the above speech).
The powerful message Christ brings to the world is ‘good news for the poor.’ Instead, Christmas is being reduced to a corporate-sponsored holiday that idolizes commerce and materialism. Shopping and gift giving are meaningful traditions that can express the season’s values, but perspective is lost when relentless advertising and maxed-out credit cards define the holiday. It’s time to reclaim the virtue of shared sacrifice for the common good.
To focus on how department stores greet customers at a time when American soldiers are dying in Iraq and 37 million of our neighbors live in poverty is a distraction from the profound moral challenges we face in confronting the real threats to human dignity in our world.
I'm pleased that there are those who have not lost focus on what the holidays are supposed to mean. While I am not without fault when it comes to the holidays and remembering the reason for the season, I do take time to remember. And the last thing I think of when thinking of Christmas is "which stores have offended me by not endorsing my view on which is the correct religion?" I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who gets that.