Monday, December 19, 2011


As the American Civil War divided families and friends, so has our latest conflict.  I am grieved to have friends on both sides of it.  Because of this I have sought for ways to alleviate the tensions before they lead to actual bloodshed.

I have, on the one hand, many friends who feel that their enjoyment of the current holiday season is lessened by an incursion of the enemy into their sacred territory.  This is known as “The War on Christmas.”  As evidence, they can point out that one can walk all through any shopping mall and note that while it is decked out with all the trimmings of the holidays – elves, red ribbons, greetings of every sort, 40% off signs, a fat guy in a red suit – yet, nowhere can be found the word “Christmas.”  I can attest to the truth of this assertion, having conducted such a search on my own.  (It should be noted, however, that the music on the PA does occasionally use the word:  “Holly, Jolly Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “White Christmas,” etc.)  This is perceived by my friends as an attack, not only on them, but also on Jesus and on the American Way.

I have also a few friends who consider any religious overtones to be offensive, not only to them but to those of other religious persuasions who do not recognize the person referred to in the first six letters of the word.  They believe that we must be tolerant of all views.  To promote one religious view on the holiday would be an attack on all other views as well as on the American Way.

I believe I have a solution which would, or at least should, satisfy those on both sides in this strife.  I propose that we rename the holiday – the whole season – with a name that I believe will be inoffensive to all.


I arrived at this new name by combining words:
n  Syncretism, which Mr. Webster defines as “the combination of different forms of belief or practice.”  This word is related, of course, to the verb syncretize, which Mr. Webster defines as “to attempt to unite and harmonize, esp. without critical examination or logical unity.”
n  Christmas, defined by Mr. Webster as “A Christian feast on December 25 (or January 7) that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday.”

I had originally thought of calling it Syncretismas but after some thought realized that the shortened title sounds a bit closer to that originally used of the holiday (the title under attack).  Perhaps some could even be allowed to capitalize the C in the middle of the word.

The new holiday name would fit within our traditional songs of the season, replacing the former name without altering the rhythmic structures of the songs.

I also propose that we use this title for the entire season, which would officially begin in November on Black Thursday (formerly known as Turkey Day, formerly known as Thanksgiving) and run through the middle of January, thus including all the holidays of the season, including my birthday.

This should satisfy all celebrants, not only those of the secular persuasion, but also those who are worshippers of a Deity, by whatever name they choose:  Jesus, Yahweh, Allah or Mammon.

Of course, there are a number of minor details to be worked out, such as the use of the word “Merry” to precede the title when used as a greeting.  Many see religious significance in the word and its non-use is perceived, as to some extent, blasphemous.

I realize that it is too late to start using the new name during the current season, but if we begin to work on the changes, perhaps we can have them made by next year.  I urge any readers to petition their congressmen to take action quickly, which they of course are in the habit of doing.

I also realize that even if my proposal is adopted, there will still be some (relatively few) who will continue to celebrate in an outdated manner, who will worship the One whose birth is observed at this time – the Man who is also God, who came to “save His people from their sins.”  But they will be few and their numbers will undoubtedly diminish rapidly as time passes and the advantages of the new holiday become more and more evident.

Have a Joyful SynCresmas!


E A Cook said...

Very Very interesting Bill!

But we don't need a new war or do we. HA HA


sohel rana said...

Thank-you for taking the time to make a comment I love reading them all.
Have a blessed day,


EdTechSandyK said...

Interesting idea. I fear, though, that those who claim offense as you write about in your post would be even more offended by a "one size fits all" holiday.

I'm going to stick with just wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas" when I interact with them in the stores. No one has seemed offended. At the same time, I need to not be offended if someone responds to me with a greeting from the holiday they celebrate. Their beliefs do not make me waver in mine.

For those who are offended by stores not displaying the word "Christmas" or not allowing their employees to say it, how does this in any way diminish the meaning and purpose of the season for you? Do you need to see the word everywhere to be reminded that you are celebrating your Savior's birthday?

If anything, it gives believers an opportunity to be salt and light to the rest of the world. By joyfully wishing others a "Merry Christmas", and not loudly complaining about it being ignored in stores, you serve to remind others of the true meaning of the season and speak volumes about your faith and your Savior through lovingly engaging your culture. Something to think about in the season where we should be practicing good will toward all humanity.

Bill Ball said...

Thanks everyone for all the good comments I've received on this post, not only here but on facebook and email.
I realize however that I am a failure at writing satire.
My apologies to Swift, Twain and my other heroes whom I attempted to emulate.

EdTechSandyK said...

If it makes you feel better I could tell it was satire. I just decided to post a serious comment. Merry Christmas, Pastor!

Bill Ball said...

Thanks Sandy.
Merry Christmas to you.

c said...

I live with satire! lol but oh how I love the humility of Sandy's comment. You go girl! One last thought, Wouldn't you be Merry if you were saved from destruction? Merry Christmas everyone!:) C:)

gary said...

i was intrigued by a news story recently about n korea accusing s korea of psychological warfare because they(s korea) had placed three huge christmas trees along the border. said they were provoking war. even with the harm that materialism of traditional santa has caused,it is becoming a major point of uncomfort in our post christian society.

Sherry said...

good post Dad

seems nobody remembers that Christmas isn't about what malls call their big shopping season - it's about the birth of the man/God who would die to purchase my forgiveness

if He can forgive me, surely I can forgive the kind stranger who has the nerve to wish me a happy holiday

Sherry said...

I just finished reading this again this morning and went to Facebook where the very first posts I saw were an attack on the attack on Christmas (especially condemning the White House for using Holiday Trees).

I've written this as my comment and I'm copying & pasting it to every one of these I see:

"I think if Jesus went to the trouble of sacrificing His life to forgive me for numerous sins, I can "forgive" the White House and anyone else for wishing me a happy holiday .

There are so many Christians in this world who are actually being persecuted and martyred. Claiming that people who want to accomodate others by using their holiday language is an attack on my religion is beyond trivial. I actually think those claims are insults to those who really suffer for their beliefs.

Christianity is not won or lost by how we refer to our winter celebrations (saturnalia, winter solstice, hanukah, kwanza, ramadan, or the biggest one out there: shopping) but by whether or not we who believe in Christ show the world His love.

And how loving is it to be upset at the phrasing someone uses to wish us well?

I believe in fighting the good fight.
But this is not it.

ps - I wonder if the pagans were as upset when Christians co-opted their winter holiday..."

Robert Golliver said...


“A New Holiday” exemplified Dr. Seuss (making the new word) and C.S. Lewis (‘Screwtape Letters’) wholeheartedly!! I literally found myself laughing out loud from the word ‘Syncresmas’! Then challenged with the New Age ideas following.

Thanks for your ‘Thoughts’ Bill!!