The Pink Flamingo thinks that Pope Benedict is a doll! He’s cute. I’m crazy about him. I may be an Episcopalian, but when he appeared that first time, I was whooping and cheering. (He was my choice for ages). I still get a kick out of him.
Imagine my (faux as in FOX) dismay when I learned, today, that he has declared war on Christmas, the commercialization of Christmas that I absolutely detest. We are told, by the idiots of the far right, that there is a war on how they perceive Christmas. I think the real problem is that the Mark Steyn version of Christmas is not quite the same as the Pope’s version of Christmas – Thank God!
Christmas is NOT about school plays and pageants. Those are for the glorification of the teachers sponsoring them and the parents who want to tape their little darlings. It isn’t about a clerk in Home Depot, Target or Walmart saying ‘Happy Holidays’. It isn’t about nativity scenes put up on public property. It’s not about tacky, trashy music being played over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over since Labor Day. It isn’t about Fox and Friends declaring a War on Christmas. It’s not about Mall decorations, or Santas who may or may not be pedophiles. It isn’t about cupcakes, drunken office parties, and the failure to say Merry Christmas.
Christmas is about the Greatest Gift the World Has Ever Known. This is what it is about, nothing more and nothing less.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
As a Christian I find anything other than this, at times, insulting. I find insulting the fake argument that there is a war on Christmas. There is not. There is a war on the crass commercialization of Christmas. Guess what? I agree with it. As a Christian, I don’t mind saying Happy Holidays, because it is NOT about Christ and about a season that is also being celebrated by my Jewish friends. As Christians we are to be slow to anger and slow to be insulted. We aren’t to insult others or make a big show of our faith (which is why I find this whole Tibow thing disgusting). We are to be polite, have manners, and treat everyone decently.
I am disgusted by the constant proclamation of a war on Christmas by FOX news. That is where the war started. Roger Ailes needed ratings and he knew conservative were hungry for someone to reinforce feelings of inadequacy. Give it a rest. The next time someone mentions a war on Christmas to me, they are going to get a quote from my patron saint of commercialized Christmas: BAH HUMBUG!
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world!
Christ is born for us! Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to the men and women whom he loves. May all people hear an echo of the message of Bethlehem which the Catholic Church repeats in every continent, beyond the confines of every nation, language and culture. The Son of the Virgin Mary is born for everyone; he is the Saviour of all.
This is how Christ is invoked in an ancient liturgical antiphon: “O Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver, hope and salvation of the peoples: come to save us, O Lord our God”. Veni ad salvandum nos! Come to save us! This is the cry raised by men and women in every age, who sense that by themselves they cannot prevail over difficulties and dangers. They need to put their hands in a greater and stronger hand, a hand which reaches out to them from on high. Dear brothers and sisters, this hand is Christ, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary. He is the hand that God extends to humanity, to draw us out of the mire of sin and to set us firmly on rock, the secure rock of his Truth and his Love (cf. Ps 40:2).
This is the meaning of the Child’s name, the name which, by God’s will, Mary and Joseph gave him: he is named Jesus, which means “Saviour” (cf. Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31). He was sent by God the Father to save us above all from the evil deeply rooted in man and in history: the evil of separation from God, the prideful presumption of being self-sufficient, of trying to compete with God and to take his place, to decide what is good and evil, to be the master of life and death (cf. Gen 3:1-7). This is the great evil, the great sin, from which we human beings cannot save ourselves unless we rely on God’s help, unless we cry out to him: “Veni ad salvandum nos! – Come to save us!”
The very fact that we cry to heaven in this way already sets us aright; it makes us true to ourselves: we are in fact those who cried out to God and were saved (cf. Esth [LXX] 10:3ff.). God is the Saviour; we are those who are in peril. He is the physician; we are the infirm. To realize this is the first step towards salvation, towards emerging from the maze in which we have been locked by our pride. To lift our eyes to heaven, to stretch out our hands and call for help is our means of escape, provided that there is Someone who hears us and can come to our assistance.
Jesus Christ is the proof that God has heard our cry. And not only this! God’s love for us is so strong that he cannot remain aloof; he comes out of himself to enter into our midst and to share fully in our human condition (cf. Ex 3:7-12). The answer to our cry which God gave in Jesus infinitely transcends our expectations, achieving a solidarity which cannot be human alone, but divine. Only the God who is love, and the love which is God, could choose to save us in this way, which is certainly the lengthiest way, yet the way which respects the truth about him and about us: the way of reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation.
Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, on this Christmas 2011, let us then turn to the Child of Bethlehem, to the Son of the Virgin Mary, and say: “Come to save us!” Let us repeat these words in spiritual union with the many people who experience particularly difficult situations; let us speak out for those who have no voice.
Together let us ask God’s help for the peoples of the Horn of Africa, who suffer from hunger and food shortages, aggravated at times by a persistent state of insecurity. May the international community not fail to offer assistance to the many displaced persons coming from that region and whose dignity has been sorely tried.
May the Lord grant comfort to the peoples of South-East Asia, particularly Thailand and the Philippines, who are still enduring grave hardships as a result of the recent floods.
May the Lord come to the aid of our world torn by so many conflicts which even today stain the earth with blood. May the Prince of Peace grant peace and stability to that Land where he chose to come into the world, and encourage the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. May he bring an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed. May he foster full reconciliation and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. May he grant renewed vigour to all elements of society in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East as they strive to advance the common good.
May the birth of the Saviour support the prospects of dialogue and cooperation in Myanmar, in the pursuit of shared solutions. May the Nativity of the Redeemer ensure political stability to the countries of the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and assist the people of South Sudan in their commitment to safeguarding the rights of all citizens.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us turn our gaze anew to the grotto of Bethlehem. The Child whom we contemplate is our salvation! He has brought to the world a universal message of reconciliation and peace. Let us open our hearts to him; let us receive him into our lives. Once more let us say to him, with joy and confidence: “Veni ad salvandum nos!”