President Ulysses S. Grant was a Christmas kind of guy. A practicing Methodist, he made December 25 a federal holiday in 1870. Ever since then, the birthday of Jesus the Nazarene has been a official day of rest.
And just last week, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order making Christmas Eve a federal holiday as well. Joy to the World! Or at least to the USA.
You may remember some years back there were attacks on Christmas by secular-progressives that went like this: “we don’t believe in Jesus and don’t want to see him and his parents displayed on public property. And we may sue if that happens. In addition, we don’t even want to hear the words ‘Merry Christmas,’ so don’t be saying them in places of business. Like stores where people buy Christmas presents. We’ll have none of that!”
Incredibly, some bosses actually ordered employees not to say “Merry Christmas.” It would be “Happy Holidays” or else.
Enter me, your humble correspondent, who found that bit of fascism very offensive. Also, a blatant violation of the First Amendment. If I want to say Merry Christmas while handing out burgers at the drive-through window, I’ll damn well say it.
Sorry for the wording, Jesus.
Once I brought the controversy to the attention of the nation on television and named some of the cowardly businesses, that “Happy Holidays “ mandate evaporated pretty quick. But not before some far left media people attacked me. Of course, in the true spirit of Christmas, I attacked back. Wait a minute. That might be the reason my stocking contained a measure of coal, and may have contributed to climate change.
Anyway, over the years there has definitely been a sea change back to a traditional Christmas landscape. Yes, there are still ideological hooligans who despise the baby Jesus, but most of them are now hiding in San Francisco.
So what about this Jesus guy? Why do most of us have his birthday off? Well, he was a fascinating fellow and you know that if you read my history book, “Killing Jesus.”
Born into a family that lived communally in the small town of Nazareth, Jesus was trained as a stone-cutter by his father. However, his parents knew early on that their boy’s intellectual aptitude was off the chart. His eloquence was on display in the local Temple as he was not shy about challenging the Jewish clergy.
Eventually, the Nazarene became a cult figure who could attract thousands of people to hear him speak. This meant he was a threat to the establishment and, in short measure, Jesus was brutally executed by Roman authorities.
After his death, Jesus became the most famous human being in history. Today, billions of people believe he is God.
In America, according to a Gallup survey, 93 percent of us celebrate Christmas even though 65 percent claim to be Christian. That’s down from 78 percent in 2007, as the secularists make inroads.
But that Christmas thing is hanging tough. Perhaps because it is honoring a man who taught that your neighbor is as important as yourself, and you are to love both equally.
Not a lot of downside in that if you are a holistic human being.
So have yourself a merry little Christmas. And you might think about how a laborer with absolutely no resources has dominated world culture for more than two thousand years.
No wonder the anti-believers are so upset.