By Noel Bourke
Many readers would have appreciated Professor Craven’s stalwart defence of Christmas in last week’s Record.
It was a reminder to us all that we must affirm the faith of our fathers against the agitating atheists and politically correct humanists who try so desperately to eradicate Christmas, not only from our language, but from our very culture.
Ah, yes, Christmas. How fondly we think of that silent night so long ago in Bethlehem.
But was it so silent?
There were three wise men, their camels and their entourages, several shepherds and their baa-ing sheep, cattle lowing in the fields, noisy animals around the mother and child, while outside a heavenly host of angels loudly proclaimed, “Alleluia. Alleluia. Christ, the saviour, is born”.
To top it all off, a very bright star was shining and making it very, very difficult to get to sleep.
In my mind’s eye, I can see a harried Joseph stepping out of the barn and waving up to the Herald Angels and saying, “Thanks, guys, for your good wishes, but it has been a very hard day for me and the missus. We’ve travelled from Nazareth on a slow moving donkey. There was no room at the inn and my wife felt quite wonky. Now the baby’s been born and they both want some quiet, but you guys up there are making a riot”.
Hopefully, the angelic choirs took the hint and went on to tell it on the mountain, over the hills and far away.
Then, as he turned to go back inside, one of the shepherds calls out, “Well, anyhow, Joseph, how are the wife and baby?”
To which he might have replied, “They are both in a stable condition.”
Those Herald angels sang about “Peace on Earth”, but two thousand years later, as Professor Craven laments, what we now have is Political Correctness on earth.
Yes, we are in the age of Political Correctness and PC says that nothing–but nothing–can be written, sung or said about Christmas that could possibly be ever so slightly offensive to another person, religion, sect, tribe, ethnic group, race or football team–excluding Collingwood.
Just before Christmas I received a newsletter from the ABC wishing me, “A very merry …”.
Was the ABC wishing me a merry three dots? Further into the newsletter they hoped I enjoyed the festive season. Obviously, dear old Aunty ABC’s lips could not frame the word “Christmas”.
I also received cards from two local members of parliament who wished me “The compliments of the season”.
But what season? At first, I thought it was the cricket season, but it can’t be because every night the commercial TV news programs have extensive coverage of AFL footballers running, jumping, jogging or appearing in court.
A federal minister signed off in the December issue of his department’s magazine by wishing everyone a “Happy holiday season”.
Obviously, he was not referring to the thousands working flat out from Boxing Day onwards, in shops open seven days a week, flogging unsold Christmas goods in department store sales across the country.
Some in the PC Brigade are even telling us that Christmas should be renamed as “A Designated, Non-Compulsory, and Penalty Rate Free Public Holiday”.
These days, Christmas in schools can only be celebrated if equal time is also given to Hanukkah, Ramadan, Eid, The Druidic Mid-Winter Solstice, Confucius’ Birthday, The Ides of March, Halloween, Hindu Nirvana, Buddha’s Enlightenment, and the Melbourne Cup.
As for Father Christmas, also known as dear old St Nicholas and jolly old Santa Claus, he now needs to get a police clearance and refrain from ringing his bell loudly and shouting out “Ho, Ho, Ho!” in case of crimes under the Noise Abatement Act of 1993.
However, in the face of all this, I say to Professor Craven, ‘do not despair’. The Spirit of Christmas will not fade.
Churches may be losing some of their influence over our festive celebrations and in the very nature of the personal greetings that many extend at Christmastime, but, never fear: Coles, Myer, David Jones and Woollies will never, ever let Christmas die.
Christmas may be dying in our schools but it lives on stronger than ever in the market-place.
Perhaps that is why it was no surprise, just days after the Feast of the Epiphany, to find many major stores already selling Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs.