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Taking the Christ out of Christmas

December 10, 2005

Valley Baptist Church

Burbank

No, I am not offended by the removal of the word "Christmas" from holiday advertising, but I also believe this is another big non-issue, from a religious standpoint. For merchants, I can see why they're deadly scared of any kind of boycott: any kind of boycott means lack of coin in their pockets, and I understand that the Christmas or Holiday season is crucial for their bottom lines.

But I also believe, religiously speaking, this fracas is a lot of hullabaloo unworthy of the heat and energy that it's creating. What is the spirit of the Christmas or holiday season? Isn't it "Peace on earth" and "Good will toward men"? Does this dispute increase peace and good will, or does it divide us? I believe it divides us.

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Years ago there was a campaign to "put Christ back into Christmas." Evidently, there were folks who were upset by anything that said "Merry Xmas," and so they were out to get rid of the "X." (As a lover of the letter "X," I was offended!) But really, how absurd to go to the mat over this issue. While left and right battle this out, there are plenty of folks hurting at this time of year. Why not try to help those who need help? A needy child who receives a gift from a stranger isn't going to care if the store from which it was bought has pictures of the Baby Jesus or candy canes in the window. A homeless mother who receives some relief isn't going to complain if her gift comes from the Salvation Army or Muslim Family Relief Services. "'Tis the season of comfort and joy. Would that we all receive our joy from bringing comfort to others.

THE REV. C.L. "SKIP" LINDEMAN

Congregational Church of the Lighted Window

United Church of Christ

La CaƱada Flintridge

We do not believe the secular forces can wipe out Christmas and we are not offended if we are wished a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday. We recognize that this is often a sincere attempt at inclusiveness, as many people are celebrating other holidays, or perhaps just as importantly, our traditional time of family unity and charity toward humanity.

Whatever one's religion, the Christian Christmas season is the time of preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

As Baha'is we recognize the nine divinely revealed religions of the world and their holy days. Our gift-giving time is in February; however, we celebrate Christmas with our Christian families and friends.

Perhaps the real meaning of this holy day has become lost to many with commercialism and Santa Claus. This is more of a concern to us than whether we are greeted with a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

Most enjoy the beauty of the season regardless of their religion and wouldn't it be wonderful to feel the love of this holiday season all year, without the commercialism.

BARBARA CRAMER

Secretary

Baha'i Faith

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