“The Phony War On Christmas” – Really?

It was with great disbelief that I read the  article written by Lee Kamps entitled “The Phony War on Christmas” in the December edition of the Parma Observer. I find it very hard to understand how Mr. Kamps can really believe that there is a “Phony War on Christmas." I cannot conceive how he can be so totally unaware of what is happening around him. Does he not read all the articles and listen to the media about cities and schools distancing themselves from Christmas in order to be “politically correct?”

It started with an attack on Nativity scenes on public land and has progressed to protests against Santa Claus, decorated pine (Christmas) trees, and the colors red and green. Parents of students at one school were even instructed to bring plain cookies to school, rather than Christmas-themed decorated cookies. Have we lost our minds?  Every December a fraction of 1% of the population tries to erase all traces of a holiday celebrated by over 85% of the citizens in the United States! 

Mr. Kamps writes that there are many immigrants coming to this country. That is true. My grandparents were among those immigrants. However, they came to America not to change it but to embrace its history, culture, and traditions and not to eradicate them, as well as to share their culture, religion, and customs with the citizens of this great country. 

Unfortunately, to my great sadness, those who constantly preach tolerance and respect have zero tolerance for anything religious. These individuals have chosen to ignore the history of this nation and how our founding fathers turned to God in prayer, for guidance, as they deliberated its formation 

I don’t want to get anyone’s “panties in a wad,” as Mr. Kamps mentioned in his article, but I must remind him about something that he has clearly omitted in his article and that is the fact that Christmas is a federal holiday. It was passed by both Houses and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on June 28, 1870 – 145 years ago.  So, it is only appropriate to wish everyone a merry federal holiday - Christmas. If anyone has a problem with this greeting, they should write to their congress person. I would be interested in asking those individuals who do not like being greeted with “Merry Christmas” and who choose not to celebrate it, if they would refuse to accept the pay that is given to them for not going to work on December 25th or to tell their employer that they do not want the day off. 

The legal aspect of the Christmas holiday must always be noted.  On the door of my local bank, one would find a notice announcing its closing for Thanksgiving. For Christmas, the notice would simply read that the bank would be closed on December 25th. When I asked why Christmas was not mentioned, I was told that the policy of the institution was to not offend those who did not celebrate that holiday. After informing the manager that it was, in fact, a federal holiday, the word “Christmas” was added. 

Three days before Christmas, a restaurant manager wished me a Happy Holiday.  When I wished him a Merry Christmas, he returned the greeting, adding that their employees were not allowed to say “Merry Christmas” unless the customer said it first.  When I reminded him that Christmas was a federal holiday, he said, “I never thought of it in that way.” 

With all these examples, I don’t believe that the war on Christmas is phony. Extremely disturbing to us should be the fact that it is not only Christmas that is under attack, but the history of our great nation. We are increasingly noticing attacks on our founding fathers, along with attempts to remove their names and statues from universities. Thomas Jefferson comes to mind. Why are people trying to rewrite history? Whitewashing it does not change what actually took place. 

It’s time to wake up and stop this nonsense. ISIS is most definitely a world threat, but we must accept the fact that internal forces can also destroy us. Our motto is “In God We Trust.” It appears on our money. In 2016, we must put our trust in Him, just as our forefathers did. 

On a personal note, I truly enjoy Christmas on December 25th, but only as a legal holiday, which I spend with family, exchanging gifts, relaxing, and enjoying the wonderful food that has been prepared. For me, Christmas – the Birth of Jesus Christ – is celebrated on January 7th according to the ancient Julian calendar. Orthodox Christians do not normally greet one another with “Merry Christmas” but, rather, “Christ is Born!” to which the reply is “Glorify Him!” 

May our Loving Lord bless you with good health, peace, and happiness in the New Year. 

Rev. John Nakonachny                                                                                                                        

St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

Parma, Ohio

(440) 885-1509

Rev. John Nakonachny

Rev. John Nakonachny is and has been pastor of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, State Road in Parma, for 29 years.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:48 PM, 01.03.2016