Worshipers of self-indulgence and the nanny state who worked all year long to denigrate Christmas now rejoice, “Christmas is over!” They’re wrong.
It’s just begun.
It’s been so long since they knew what Christmas is — if indeed they ever knew — they don’t realize that Christmas begins, not ends, on Christmas Day.
The Twelve Days of Christmas they vaguely recognize from the old English song do not begin Dec. 14 and proceed in crescendo to the “12 drummers drumming” on Dec. 25.
The actual “first day of Christmas” — with or without partridge in a pear tree — has historically in Western Christianity begun on Christmas Day, itself. The remaining 11 days last until Jan. 6, which is the beginning of Epiphany, the time when the three wise men are said to have arrived to present their gifts to the baby Jesus.
The pseudo Twelve Days of Christmas, so beloved of advertisers and retailers, that so many people surmise are the 11 days leading up to Christmas Day, fall into a period spanned by the four Sundays before Christmas.
That is known (less and less, apparently) as Advent, the period during which Christians prepare themselves and their families for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
Incidentally, for the benefit of those who forget or never knew, that is what Christmas Day is, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Christ-mass. Get it? An awful lot of folks don’t.
Indeed, they have sort of a hard time getting those two words, Jesus and Christ, out of their mouths, except as a convenient oath. Of late, it has become increasingly politically incorrect to wish someone a “Merry Christmas” or even to utter the word “Christmas.”
All of which makes it all the more easy not to observe Christmas for what it truly is.
So, instead, what started out being a religious observance of the birth of Jesus, who billions still profess to believe is the Son of God, has become a hectic, costly, emotion-frazzled time to discover what “I got for Christmas.”
Instead of being taught generosity and love toward others, little children now are conditioned by this society to grow up cultivating and cherishing their own selfishness.
This shabby process of acculturation is avariciously abetted by a commercialized society that finds new devices for beginning the acquisition of objects earlier and earlier in the calendar.
It will be of passing interest to historians to discover a date certain in which a jaded populace had all of the phony Christmas jingles and cynical sales pitches it could possibly stand and revolted en masse.
What’s been going on, at an exponentially increasing rate, over the past few years is no accident. It has enjoyed very serious sponsorship.
Along with the de-Christianization of Christmas has come a vicious attempt to banish God — even the concept of God — from the national culture. School children are taught that this country was not founded on religious principles, that God had no place in the consciousness and reasoning of the Founding Fathers.
The war against God is certainly no novelty in history. Just ask Lucifer. But never before in the history of mankind have the agents of secularism had such tools and resources to impose on a people their hatred of a being greater than themselves, a divine creator.
Pause a moment and look around. Look at what is in this new marketplace of information, the World Wide Web. Look at what is in the daily newspaper. Look at what is on the magazine racks. Look at what is coming out of Hollywood. Look at what is on television. Listen to what is on the radio. Listen to the music the kids bring home or download. Listen to what is coming out of the mouths of your own children.
There’s more to this than just some unethical, untalented idiots trying to make mega-bucks. The folks behind all of it have an agenda driven by a sick philosophy.
They hate this country. They hate the principles on which it was founded. They hate their fellow Americans who stand up for those principles. They hate those who believe in God. They hate God and all that God stands for, including God’s willingness to love even them.
Want a word for such folks? Easy. It’s evil — and don’t think for a moment there isn’t such a thing in this world.
And if Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and any others of religious faith think it is only Christianity that is the target of evil, they, too, have another think coming.
Those who believe in Christianity just happen to be the largest number. If the secularists have their way, everyone but themselves will be nullified.
So what’s the good news these Twelve Days of Christmas?
The good news is, above all, there really are Twelve Days of Christmas. In fact, if you take Christianity seriously, there will be Three-Hundred-Fifty-Four More Days of Christmas until Christmas Day rolls around in 2008, which happened to be one of those leap years.
It’s true that the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated, or is supposed to be celebrated, from Dec. 25 through Jan. 5. The larger truth is that Christianity is without season. What Jesus Christ stood for, died for, is timeless.
That is the quality that makes it unconquerable, impossible to overlook.
At the time of the crucifixion, there was but a handful of Christ’s original followers. In the intervening 20 centuries, not a long time as recorded history goes, Christianity has become the largest body of religion on the planet, with more than 2 billion known adherents. Islam is second-largest, with nearly 1.3 billion. Those professing no religion are far fewer than 1 billion.
In the United States, Christians are estimated at around 75 percent to 80 percent of the population. Those professing no religious faith are but a minor fraction of that. Small wonder the secularists feel so outnumbered.
Christianity is under substantial bombardment in this country today, but those who want to tear it, and all religion, down still have a long, long way to go.
Like it or not, Christmas isn’t over. Christianity is still there and it’s not going away. God’s pear trees are full of partridges.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com.
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