From Filtered News, another WordPress blog, here is A Meditation on Keeping Christ in Christmas.
At the time of the first Christmas, the Samaritans were considered by Jesus’ people as disgusting inferiors and were denounced by the religious leaders of the day as heretics and ethnically impure; sick people were believed to be sinners whom God was punishing; women were deemed unworthy, unclean and inferior; tax collectors and Roman soldiers were regarded as the mortal enemy; the poor, who had neither the time nor the resources to maintain rigorous rites of religious purity, were thought to be beyond God’s grace: Gentiles were seen as ritually, morally, genealogically and carnally impure: Jesus rejected and denounced every one of these barriers between people.**
And another exerpt:
If our Christian faith and love are strong, we feel no bitter, self-righteous need to claim some sort of exclusive or superior right to this holiday season — which, ironically, violates the very spirit of the holiday season. If our Christian faith and love are strong, we are able to gently, serenely accept the “other” as Christ did, with open hearts and open arms. If our Christian faith and love are strong, we are able to make room for the “others” and offer wishes of peace and joy, not divisiveness, not bitter victimization and not anger.
This year anybody looking to get bent out of shape about a “war on Christmas” is in luck. Some churches in parts of Iraq have actually cancelled Christmas festivities (or solemn celebrations, whatever kind they prefer) due to threats made by al-Qaeda in Iraq. So please, if you were inclined to grumble and hiss about people with the temerity to wish you “happy holidays,” take a moment to ponder what a real war on Christmas would look like.