Opinion: The ‘War on Christmas’

Stephen D’Abreau

Stephen D'Abreau

The War on Christmas has nothing to do with Starbucks. The real political battle for Christmas is over the soul of the celebration and the spirit of the season, and the enemy is consumerism and social isolation.

It doesn’t matter if you are Jewish, atheist, Christian, or anything else; the holiday season is celebrated by many, and, as a result, threatens an entire culture.

First, let’s know our enemy: consumerism, the socioeconomic philosophy of building a society around the consumer desires, acquisition of material goods and empowering the capitalist market forces in our society via “giving the consumer what they want.”

The problem isn’t capitalism or the free market, but rather the shallow, selfish and materialistic culture derived from the economic world we live in.

Social isolation is also a result of the economic boom of the holiday season, stemming from the overload of work and stress that accompany December.

Stress — it must sound familiar to final exam season right?

We are encouraged, almost by necessity, to stress out, lock ourselves away and toil in isolation.

Our reward? Shallow materialistic culture and maybe a fleeting sense of “Christmas cheer.”

This is not what Christmas is about, and I don’t mean this as a platitude. I mean this theologically.

The Gospel of Matthew states, “(For I was hungry, naked, sick, and a stranger… and you fed, clothed, visited and welcomed me) …Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee… and when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee … ?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’”

If Christmas is about Christ, one major demand of Christ is to honor him with selflessness, kindness, compassion and giving — not isolation and materialistic pursuits. Even if you aren’t a Christian, surely the message for the season still resonates.

The soul of Christmas is giving — it’s about compassion to the poor and kindness to the stranger.

I encourage anyone who reads this to take this message to heart. This holiday season, whatever you celebrate, endeavor to go outside yourself. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate clothes to the homeless, carol at a hospital or give a present to a less fortunate stranger. The only way to combat the stressful, selfish and isolating forces in this war is to fight back with selfless, joyful and outgoing pursuits.

To my fellow Christians, I add this: when people say “keep Christ in Christmas,” don’t take this as platitude of the faith — make your faith alive this season by your deeds and honor Christ this Christmas.

Stephen D’Abreau is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].