The New Holiday Monster
– by David Matthews 2
When it comes to the holiday season, there are two well-known monsters.
The first monster is Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge was the protagonist of the classic tale “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. He started out as a miserly old coot who hated Christmas and everything connected to it. He was a child of business. He was abandoned by everyone that he ever loved; his mother, his father, his sister, his girlfriend, and eventually the only friend he ever knew. Only money stayed with him, so that was all that he ever cared about. He lived miserly, and he hoarded every shilling he had, and he expected those around him to do the same.
Dickens created Scrooge as the personification of the new mentality of the Industrial Society; as the thing that people should not become. By the end of the story, of course, Scrooge found his place in society again.
The second holiday monster is the Grinch. The Grinch was the creation of famed author Dr. Seuss in the story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Unlike Scrooge, there was no real reason WHY the Grinch “hated” Christmas; just that he did. There were speculations about his clothes, his head, and his heart, but Seuss never developed a reason why this green furry creature would have a mad-on disgust of all things seasonal, only that it offended his sensibilities and he needed it to go away.
There are other enemies, of course, but for all of the Burger-Meister Meister Burgers and Winter Warlocks you could come up with, people identify Scrooge and Grinch the most because they represent the kind of people that they occasionally see in real life. They see the miserly curmudgeon that thinks money is more important than humanity, or they see the eternal grouch that hates celebrations and wants them all to go away.
But there has been another holiday monster that has reared its ugly head of late. It’s a self-centered creature that sucks the life and merriment out of the season. Ironically enough, this monster claims that it is acting in defense OF that same season of merriment and fun.
Behold… the CHRISTMAS CLERIC!
Now note that I did not say “HOLIDAY” Cleric, because that is the Cleric’s WORST WORD EVER! The CHRISTMAS Cleric will tell you in no uncertain terms that they are champions of CHRISTMAS! Not the “Holiday Season”, not the “Winter Season”, not the “Winter Festivities” or any other politically-neutral term. No, this Cleric will say CHRISTMAS, with the heavy emphasis on CHRIST-mas, because they are unashamedly CHRISTIAN, and they want everyone to know that this is THEIR SEASON!
Oh, you are more than welcome to participate, and in fact the Cleric WANTS you to take part. But it has to be according to the Cleric’s terms.
That means you MUST say CHRIST-mas. Heavy emphasis on the word “CHRIST”.
You cannot say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Winter” or even talk about a “Yuletide Greeting” or a “Winter Event”. Those other words are obscenities to the Cleric. You don’t EVER mention those words around the Cleric. EVER!
You MUST… MUST… have a CHRIST-mas Tree. Not a Chanukah bush, not a decorated Norse Odinsleep tree, but a CHRIST-mas Tree with either a star or an angel on top. No bows. Bows are for the wreaths, which are another requirement of the Cleric.
You MUST… MUST… play CHRIST-mas music! Not remixed pop versions of generic songs like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Winter Wonderland”. No, no, no. You MUST play all of the CHRISTIAN music! You MUST play “Silent Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Away in a Manger” and all of the other CHURCH-inspired music. And preferably the organ versions so you get that CHURCH feeling. Oh, and this is the one time that the Cleric will actually insist that the music be blasted on a volume level normally reserved for heavy metal rock concerts, because the Cleric wants EVERYONE to know what and WHO’S time of the year this is!
You MUST… MUST… say “Merry CHRIST-mas” to other people! And every store not only HAS to have CHRIST-mas material available, and it has to actually SAY “CHRIST-mas”, but they also MUST… MUST… wish ALL their customers a “Merry CHRIST-mas”! The Cleric DOES NOT TOLERATE anything less! Your free speech ends with the Cleric’s periphery. The Cleric needs to see it, the Cleric needs to hear you SAY it, and the Cleric expects you to do it in all sincerity and meaning.
Now in case you’re ready to just write the Cleric off as being a holiday fanatic, here’s another little wrinkle… the Christmas Cleric also suffers from a perpetual persecution complex. The Christmas Cleric is firmly convinced that there is a WAR going on by “godless heathens and atheists” to destroy society. The Cleric is goaded on by self-righteous evangelical ministers to believe that ANYTHING except an out-and-out CHRISTIAN celebration of this time of the year is nothing short of an ASSAULT on THEIR PERSONAL religious beliefs. The Cleric REFUSES to accept the REALITY that the season was full of STOLEN concepts, even material condemned by the Cleric’s own Bible, and declares it… ALL of it… EXCLUSIVELY CHRISTIAN.
Once upon a time it would have been easy to ignore the Christmas Cleric. We used to dismiss this bitter person as someone who was just overly anxious of the season. But the Cleric is the product of some truly evil forces with ulterior dreams of Dominionism, and they are the ones that send the Cleric to stores to badger employees and managers to meet the Cleric’s personal religious standards. They are the ones that encourage the Cleric to suck the life out of the enjoyment of this time of the year from those that don’t adhere to the Cleric’s religious standards.
Let’s get brutally honest here… the Christmas Cleric is just as much of a seasonal monster as a Grinch or a Scrooge. The Cleric is fueled by Dominionists, wound up by propaganda and FoxNews stories, and sent forth not to celebrate the season, but to CONQUER it. The Cleric is just as much of a jihadist as any Middle East terrorist, minus the bomb and gun; although if ignored long enough that could be subject to change.
Sadly, in the Cleric’s obsessive quest to get everyone to adhere to the Cleric’s specific religious DETAILS, the Cleric loses the whole purpose of the season. It’s no longer about a celebration. It becomes indoctrination.
The problem is that the Cleric is someone we know; someone we have to live with or work with or that we have to deal with on a continual basis. The Cleric is a friend, a co-worker, a family member, or a business customer. And the Cleric knowingly uses that connection to get his or her way. We can’t ignore this kind of person, as much as we want to, because the Cleric REFUSES to be ignored.
The truth of the matter is that the Cleric is not just the creation of the Dominionists, but also those of us who have an unrealistic expectation of the season. Nothing stops the Cleric from celebrating the season in his or her own way. It’s just a pity that the Cleric cannot find it within himself or herself to reciprocate.