For centuries Christmastime in America was widely recognized as a special season of joy, filled with festive celebrations, heartfelt gift-giving, and, of course, transcendent music that conveyed the faith of so many of our nation’s people.
Unfortunately, what has transpired over the last few decades is a rise of suppression of Christian expression, which has become most evident during the time leading up to this brightest of holidays.
In the not-so-distant past, some institutions of higher learning have seen fit to ban from college campuses Christmas decorations, Christmas gifts, Christmas trees, and even the word “Christmas” itself, according to Campus Reform.
Some vexing seasonal disharmony recently arrived courtesy of the Huffington Post. The publication featured a piece that encouraged parents to prevent their children from saying “Merry Christmas” and to replace the phrase instead with “Happy Holidays.”
Other signs of the country’s divide and the tangential erosion of attitudes toward Christian expression can be found in the results of a telephone poll. The poll, which was conducted in English and Spanish by the Public Religion Research Institute and took place from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, 2016, with 1,004 adults participating, found that Democrats oppose the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” more than 2-1 over Republicans.
Something that happened recently in Midlothian, Virginia, though, is particularly emblematic of the situation in which Christ Child well-wishers find themselves. The Robious Middle School banned any carols that make mention of the reason for the season for Christian believers, i.e., Jesus.
School administrators reportedly said that the decision had been made to “avoid singing anything of a direct sacred nature” in order to be “more sensitive to the increasing diverse population at the school.”
The problem with the school’s approach appears to center upon the word “sacred.” The end result at Robious Middle School, and at so many other similar public institutions and venues, is that concerts and festivities will be required to celebrate the season without any mention or even a veiled reference to the birth event of the principal character for whom, according to Gallup, 74 percent of the country’s population joyfully awaits.
Despite public disinformation over the subject, public schools are not legally required to remove the name of Christ from Christmas pageants, concerts, and the like. Also, Christmas carols that use his name are not necessarily considered “sacred,” as the Robious Middle School has characterized them. Christmas is part of the cultural and religious heritage of our country, and the national holiday’s songbook is allowed to be presented as such.
The American culture at large has for years simply allowed the secular and the spiritual to peacefully reside, especially within the music realm, through a seamless tapestry of secular and religious beliefs. A beautiful tapestry, when you think of it, which reflects true diversity and authentic tolerance, encompassing respect and understanding of our fellow neighbors’ identities and belief systems.
Perhaps this year Christmas Future could become Christmas Past once again, at least in celebration and song.