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Monday, December 16, 2019

Going Nuts Over Xmas

I have several favorite recorded Christmas oddities. Many of them showed up on the radio on my programs during the “holiday season” in years gone by. These are not from the camp of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” or “Dominic the Donkey.”

Nah. Mine are much more refined silliness. For example, I still enjoy Stan Freberg’s classic, “Green Christmas” with the chorus, “Deck the halls with advertising.”

Then there's a Scandinavian favorite, “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” by the fictional Swede, Yogi Yorgesson. You can search the song title for the lyrics.

Another of my favorites came from the creative mind of Minnesota radio personality Chuck Knapp. He produced the little ditty, “Chipmunks Roasting O’er the Open Fire” replete with crackling fire effects. Lovely.

But on the more relevant side of tolerance and respect are the condensed comments by Ben Stein from a commentary he offered on the CBS Sunday Morning news program. The date was December 18, 2005, and the piece was titled “Confessions for the Holidays.” It’s publicly available. Here’s a good portion of it:

“I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me.

I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.”

Every year, we get the same forces demanding that visible signs of Christmas be removed. For 2019, we can easily find such stories. One titled “The 72-Hour War Over Christmas” was featured in the New York Times on November 29th.

In short form, the mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, made a decision to rename the city’s annual Christmas parade to the “Charleston Winter Parade.” In her mind, she thought this would suggest that WVA’s capital city was a welcome place for people of all faiths and cultures.

As the Times reported, “Across America, the mention of ‘Christmas' in holiday greetings and decorations has become another measure of political divisiveness.” No kidding.

News of this created a swift backlash from the townspeople. And early on the third day following the mayor’s announcement she retreated. Mayor Amy Goodwin announced The Winter Parade was no more and the Christmas Parade was back. Morning talk show host Hoppy Kercheval reported to Mayor Amy, “Everybody is going to be happy again.”

Well I’m pretty sure not EVERYBODY is happy. The mayor did have her share of supporters. But she did learn the political lesson about the will of the people.

I’m also pretty confident these Christmas battles reveal why Jesus never asked His followers to create an annual birthday celebration for Him. Look what it’s become! Black Friday. A fictional fat man coming down a chimney. Reindeer. Office drinking parties. Holiday stress. And songs like, “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas.”

Truer words might never have been spoken. Merry Christmas, Yogi.

That’s Forward Thinking. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

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