Fox News has got it in for malls. They’ve been taking malls to task for saying Happy Holidays and not Merry Christmas.
Jim Wallis, from Sojorners has a bit to say about that–particularly about the malls themselves:
Last year, Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas. Clean water for the whole world, including every poor person on the planet, would cost about $20 billion. Let’s just call that what it is: A material blasphemy of the Christmas season.
Imagine Jesus walking into the mall, seeing the Merry Christmas signs, and expressing his humble thanks for how the pre- and post-Christmas sales are honoring to him. How about credit cards for Christ?
While we’re at it, here’s another point of clarification: The arrival of the Christ child has nothing to do with trees or what we call them.
Evergreens and wreaths, holly and ivy, and even mistletoe turn out to be customs borrowed from ancient Roman and Germanic winter solstice celebrations, assimilated and co-opted by the church after Constantine made peace between his empire and the Christians.
Now, my family loves our Christmas tree, but its bright lights and wonderful ornaments don’t teach my children much about why Jesus came into the world. We do that in other ways, such as giving needed gifts — goats, sheep, and chickens and the like — to the poorest children and families of the world though the World Vision web site on Christmas Day. The goal is to make our sons more excited about the gifts they give than the ones they get, and it usually works. Last year, my boys sponsored a child in Ghana.
I have no problem with the public viewing of symbols from all of the world’s religions at appropriate times in their religious calendars (which can actually be educational for all of our children) and believe that doing so is consistent with our democratic and cultural pluralism.
But I don’t believe that respectfully and publicly honoring those many religious symbols has changed many lives, for better or for worse. Much more important than symbols and symbolism is how we live the faith that we espouse. And here is where Fox News’s war on Christmas is most patently unjust.
Game, set and match. Wallis.