Bear Witness

Reason for the season isn’t about religion

Shlok Gore, Staff Writer

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The holidays are a time for good spirit and spending time with loved ones. Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Hanukkah are celebrations that take part in the holiday season, which is traditionally during the months of November and December.  

Every year as this season rolls around, a popular debate arises. The common phrase, “Merry Christmas!” has been accused for having a Christian meaning for quite some time. While Christmas started as a Christian holiday, it has long assimilated into the American culture. Even though this may seem like a trivial issue, a slew of altercations have surfaced. For example, a few years ago, one of the Cambrian School District elementary schools, Sartorette, had to cancel its annual visit to Santa because of a complaint that the school was reinforcing Christian beliefs by taking the kindergartners to a local Kris Kringle.

This seasonal argument can be dubbed the “War on Christmas,” and it is not new. As early as the 1920s Christmas-related sayings and memorabilia have been protested against. Most of the complaints come because of the misguided notion that commonplace Christmas has to mean, and only mean, the birth of Jesus Christ. That is simply not true, because it has moved on to symbolize togetherness and that wonderful holiday feeling.

There is a special animosity towards “Merry Christmas!” even though the phrases aren’t affiliated with religious meaning but are now used to convey well wishes during a season that society, not a certain religious group, celebrates.  

“I really don’t think there is a religious connotation attached to ‘Merry Christmas.’ Originally there was, but now because Christmas is more of a social holiday than a religious one, the saying does not have that meaning anymore,” Sophomore Jairo Montes said.

On the other hand, President Donald Trump expressed his beliefs about this topic when he campaigned for the presidency. On the road to becoming president, Trump said, “I’m a good Christian. If I become president, we’re gonna be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store.” Trump’s claims of a war on Christmas may be erroneous; past presidents have used that phrase often around this time.

So when you’re saying “Merry Christmas,” whether you actually believe in the birth of Jesus or not, know that millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, and not all of them are Christian.

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Reason for the season isn’t about religion