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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The War on Christmas

The American War on Christmas has reached The Netherlands. Even the Dutch PM interfered in this debate: "Let's not create an atmosphere in which Christmas wishes are no longer allowed, like Black Pete would no longer be allowed." (eg, VK). The connection in that sentence between Christmas and Sinterklaas (aka Santa Claus) & Black Pete is intriguing.

Even the Pope criticised our version of Christmas: “Jesus was born rejected by some and regarded by many others with indifference. Today also the same indifference can exist, when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus; when the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts, but cold toward those who are marginalised. This worldliness has taken Christmas hostage. It needs to be freed.”

The War on Christmas is the result of a continued decline in religion. In 2016, half of the Dutch population says they are religious, which is 5% down compared to 2015 (eg, Dutch News). The situation in the USA is very different: "the religiously unaffiliated (also called the “nones”) now [in 2014] account for 23% of the adult population, up from 16% in 2007." (Pew)

I understand and appreciate the above opinions. My personal "war" on Christmas is different. Before, I felt uncomfortable spending lots of my time eating, drinking and chatting. Now, Christmas is a day in which I ride the highs and lows in my rollercoaster of loneliness and solitude (part 1, part 2). I soften the blows with music, writing and some TV. However, listening to my favourite music often makes me even more melancholic.

The difference between happy holidays and merry Christmas may seem trivial but hides a cultural war. Some claim it's about political correctness and not upsetting Islam. Latter is weird as Jesus - or Isa ibn Maryam - is also a significant prophet in Islam, "being mentioned in the Quran in 93 ayaat with various titles attached such as "Son of Mary", "Spirit of God", and the "Word of God" among other relational terms, directly and indirectly, over 180 times." (Wiki)

More and more, I think, feel and believe that the ferocity in maintaining traditions (eg, Christmas, Black Pete & Santa Claus) is part of the new divide between Nationalism and Internationalism. Possibly, attacks on ancient traditions are even viewed as an attack on White Supremacy (part 1, part 2). WW2 has learned that there is a relation between Nationalism and White Supremacy.

Fear of Change is another reason for the ferocity of this cultural debate. Even ancient traditions are now subject to Change. Most humans dislike Change whether in private, at work or in society. The ever-increasing pace of Change is shown in this 3 minute (must-seeBusiness Insider video

For many years, Christmas has become the European equivalent of the American Thanksgiving Day: a get-together holiday for families with food, drinks, chatting and possibly prayer. In times of secularization, there is nothing wrong with such a new meaning.

 Last Christmas (1984) by Wham!

R.I.P. George Michael (25 June 1963 - 25 December 2016)

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