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Adding Some Depth To Our Communal Post-Holidays’ Vegetative State

Brought to you courtesy of Adam Hanft of HuffPo: I'm actually okay with leaving the Christ in Christmas. (I just don't want to find him in the classroom, or in Congress, or anyplace else.) I wouldn't want the Maccabees taken … Read More

By / December 27, 2006

Brought to you courtesy of Adam Hanft of HuffPo:

I'm actually okay with leaving the Christ in Christmas. (I just don't want to find him in the classroom, or in Congress, or anyplace else.) I wouldn't want the Maccabees taken out of Chanukah, and, in fact, I don't think any tradition should be stripped of its narrative to satisfy those who choose not to accept it.

I also think that the attempts to broaden out the holiday with such abominations as Christmukkah and Kwanza are horrific attempts to create commonality where there is none. Feeling marginalized from the mainstream may not be an ideal state, but it's certainly better than a false sense of inclusion. And there's no question that a lot of great art has come from the pain of exclusion, more than has come from the fakery of a culture of kumbaya.

I can accept the seasonal incorporation of Christmas into the visual plane, even the manifestly intrusive and ugly crèches and nativity scenes, as a sociologically interesting and perhaps even necessary expression. I just wish that those who advocate for them stopped viewing their display as an entitlement, but rather as part of the informal contract between the faiths that has worked pretty well for a long time.

Meanwhile, consider that the Jews invented not just the soundtrack of Christmas, but its nostalgic heft. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire); "White Christmas"; "Let it Snow"; "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer"; "I'll be Home for Christmas" and "Silver Bells" were all penned by those who managed to turn outsider status into someone else's war worth fighting.

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