A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker


So I'm thumbing through the Thanksgiving newspaper looking for advertisements for sales. This is a little like walking on the beach looking for sand, or looking into a cloudless night sky looking for stars.

There are TONS of ads in the paper.

Specifically, there are tons of holiday ads. I know this because most of them use the word "holiday" somewhere in the text of the ad copy.

"Hot Holiday Bargains!" one ad proclaims.

"For Your Holiday Shopping Needs," says another.

"The Finest in Holiday Cards, Decorations and Candy," another gushes.

As I scan page after page of advertisements, it suddenly dawns on me that there is another word that I'm NOT seeing "Christmas" and I'm sort of wondering why.

There was a time when we went Christmas shopping to buy Christmas presents. We greeted each other with a hearty "Merry Christmas!" We decorated Christmas trees, hung Christmas wreaths and attended Christmas parties.

Today the politically correct thing to do is to shop for holiday gifts, say "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings," decorate holiday trees, hang holiday wreaths and attend holiday parties with an occasional reference to Yule or Xmas festivities thrown in for good measure.

And I'm not exactly sure why.

It can't be the Christian underpinnings of Christmas that is to blame. St. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween all sink their celebratory roots into decidedly Christian soil, and yet you don't hear people refer to them with generic "holiday" references. ("Are you going to get your wife some roses for the holiday?" "Will you be wearing green for the holiday?" "What are you going to be for the holiday?")

Nor can it be the fact that there are some who, for a wide variety of reasons, choose not to celebrate Christmas. While I understand the need to be sensitive to the wondrous mix of cultural and religious diversity that exists in our country, we've always been secure enough to embrace our respective traditions openly, and without fear of oppression or reprisal.

We celebrate the Fourth of July boisterously even though some religious doctrines consider such blatant displays of patriotism to be disrespectful to God. We celebrate Thanksgiving even though there are many among us who don't believe that there is a Supreme Being to whom we should give thanks.

Of course, there is one other holiday that is undergoing a similar PC transformation these days: Easter. Easter has become a day filled with bunnies, brightly colored eggs and chocolate, a time to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring. Its deeper meanings of renewal and rebirth are being covered with a thick blanket of vivid green, pink, yellow and blue colored "basket grass." But at least it gets to keep its name.

Perhaps the decline in political correctness for these two glorious days Christmas and Easter has something to do with the characteristics they have in common. Both are the result of miraculous occurrences far beyond man's feeble capacity to understand or appreciate. Both fill the heart with real wonder and awe -- frightening feelings in a world that saves its "wonder" for technology and its "awe" for Shaquille O'Neal. And both can only be seen for what they really, truly are when viewed through the eyes of faith.

No matter what you call them.

# # #

--- Joseph Walker


Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through