The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 21, 2012

Our View: ‘Tis the season

The Joplin Globe

— In Little Rock, Ark., the Agape Church was forced to cancel its planned matinee performances of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for local elementary school students because a group calling itself “Arkansas Society of Free Thinkers” threatened legal action against the school district because of the play’s “religious content.”

In Missoula, Mont., a group of “anonymous” Chief Charlo Elementary School parents wrote a letter to the school district complaining that the holiday music programming included too many “religious” songs. Not satisfied with just proclaiming their dis-approval, the unsigned letter went so far as to claim the practice was a form of bullying.

Whether you agree on whether there is an ongoing “war on Christmas” or an “attack on Christianity,” anyone would be hard pressed not to acknowledge that common sense has pretty much left for the hills and left in its place a sack full of intolerance and pettiness that seems to grow larger with each passing year.

No matter your personal religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, Christmas is Christmas.

You can be the most devout atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or High Priestess of the Order of Perpetual Scrooges, and it doesn’t change the fact that Christmas has always been and always will be about the birth of Jesus Christ.

To some he is a savior, to others a prophet, and to still others he was just a man. But one does not have to believe in the religious, to participate in the giving of peace and kindness toward your fellow man that the narrative of Christmas embodies.

Complaints such as those in Little Rock and Missoula pale with pettiness when compared with the absolute utter devastation and tragedy that has befallen so many families and communities this past year.

Whether it be in the over a dozen states home to the families and victims of man-made mass violence or the tens of dozens across other states that lost their lives to Mother Nature, there is very real pain and suffering being endured by so many at this very moment.

And while any loss is painful to those in its grasp, there is something especially heartbreaking about the fact that in Newtown, Conn., this year there will forever remain presents unopened for 20 of the most innocent that humanity offers.

Would it really be so bad if but for just a little while we all remember what Christmas truly means?