Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Meaning of Christmas

* As a Jew, I certainly do not mean to be presumptuous about this topic. However, an editorial in today's New York Times has prompted this post. The editorial is rather short, and is entitled "This Day of Good Cheer."

* Said the editorial writers of the Times: "Christmas is, for many of us, our only glimpse of what tradition really means. Our lives are, by and large, not the least bit traditional. If it feels sometimes as though Christmas is another country, that's because it is." I have absolutely no idea what that last sentence even means. Is the idea of Christmas now so alien to the New York Times, so passe, that it no longer fits with their view of today's America?

* As for the lack of tradition, I assume the Times is referring, at least in part, to their favorite news topic - gay marriage. No surprise that today's edition has yet another front page story on gay marriage, entitled: "Indiana Finds It's Not So Easy To Buck Gay Marriage Trend." Nor does the Times much care for the tradition regarding the sanctity of human life. And they seem to be more enamored with socialism than that outdated, traditional concept of capitalism. As for G-d and religion in the public square? Not a chance.

* The Times editorial continues with: "There is no need to draw a lesson from Christmas. Life offers lessons aplenty." So much for what the New York Times thinks of Christmas. You know, maybe some people need a lesson still, about things like "peace on earth, good will to their fellow man." News item today: two bombs exploded in Iraq, with the aim of killing Christians. One exploded near a church and killed at least 26, and wounded 38. Another exploded in an outdoor market in a Christian section of a town, killing 11 and wounding 21. Think the perpetrators might do well to take a lesson from Christmas?

* I, for one, prefer one of the "traditional" messages as stated in an 1897 New York Sun editorial, in reply to a letter from young Virginia O'Hanlon. It read, in part, as follows: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy." Perhaps we can bring back the Sun and have it replace the Times.