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!