Foisting Christmas traditions on non-christians

“Merry Christmas,” I wished an acquaintance in the spirit of the season.

“That’s exactly right,” she replied vigorously. “It’s not season’s greetings, it’s not happy holidays, it’s Merry Christmas. And if “they” find that offensive then “they” can go back to where “they” came from.

Her response was so vociferous that I was taken aback. I had wished hundreds of people a Merry Christmas over the years, many of whom, no doubt, were non-Christians, and none had said they were offended. I said as much to this angry person but she wouldn’t be placated.

“I’m sick of it. They want to change everything.”

During a post-Christmas dinner discussion with family and friends I mentioned this incident and again was surprised at the intensity and the content of the response.

“They are eroding our traditions. We can’t even hold a Christmas Pageant in the schools anymore.”

Another guest added; “When they see what we have they all want to come here. When they get here they want to change everything.”

“They would never get away with it in the countries they left,” interjected another to a chorus of approval.

It was apparent that the “they” being referred to were new Canadians of visible minorities. “We” were Canadian born white people.

These arguments were not only illogical but also without foundation and hardly worth debate. However, I make a point of confronting anyone who makes what I consider racially motivated statements – even if their guests at my own dinner table.

Many people, I said, with Canadian born ancestors, like myself, feel religion has no place in the publicly funded school system. That’s any religion – and presenting the Nativity is a religious pageant. Play it out in your own front yard or church but not at school.

And as far as what attracts people to this country, I volunteered it was freedom to elect the government of our choice, freedom to live and move where we want, freedom of self-determination and freedom to practice the religion of your choice. I don’t see anyone wanting to change those principles.

Whether “we” could celebrate Christmas in “their” countries is missing the point. Do we want Canada to be like the countries these people left?

“Well, it was never like this before “they” came,” they grumbled.

I could tell my arguments fell on deaf ears. The underlying element here was fear – fear of change and there’s nothing logical about that.

But I maintain that the ideals that built this country are still strong and Canadians – new or old – still aspire to them.

Yes, the face of this country may be changing but so what? Its heart and core values remain the same and that’s what’s important.

Merry Christmas.

Journal Comments

  • Matt Penfold