A savior’s birth, sponsored by CokeWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
When I see you and offer an enthusiastic ”Happy holidays!” I’m not trying to start a debate about the state of Christianity.
I’ve always meant ”Happy holidays” to encompass the corridor from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Lately, when I offer a handshake and a greeting of ”Happy holidays,” a number of people correct me by saying, ”Merry CHRISTmas,” emphasizing ”Christ” with a pointedly contemptuous huff.
I’ve heard some talk radio pundits discussing the conspiracy to remove Christ from Christmas. They say retail stores, government offices, schools and society in general are becoming so politically correct, Jesus is being forgotten as the reason for the season. They say the rush to be inclusive is favoring Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Festivus over Christmas.
The watering down of Christmas as a celebration of Christ’s birth was inevitable. Anything a commercial society gets its mitts on is doomed, whether it’s an art form such as the movies and television, a sporting event such as the college football season or a dimension of humanity such as sexuality. Once there’s money to be made, the product has to appeal to as many people as possible to maximize profits.
I do not blame other belief systems for the fading of Christ as the focus of Christmas; I blame Madison Avenue, Disney, Coca-Cola and their ilk. The modern nature of the holiday as a time to buy presents demands a secular take.
This year, Coke is showing a commercial in which a polar bear cub slides into a partying group of penguins. The awkward social situation is solved when a fuzzy lil’ penguin chick flippers over a Coke. The commercial ends, not with the reunited bear family feasting on penguin innards, but with a pop song dance.
”Happy holidays from Coke,” the ad reads.
What is Coke to do?
Scene: Bethlehem. Fade in to manger. Mary and Joseph are beaming. They step aside as the Little Drummer Boy steps up, smiles and hands the baby Jesus a Coke. Baby Jesus turns the Coke into wine and everyone laughs as the screen fades to: ”Celebrate the birth of our Lord with a crisp, refreshing Coke. It’s Savior-iffic!”
That would be blasphemy, right? Unthinkable. Yet Coke and the 3 million other products demanding our attention need to capitalize on the season, so they created another savior.
Here comes Santa Claus!
Money and greed are strangling the spirit of Jesus from Christmas, not just political correctness. All you can do is maintain your faith and keep that spirit alive.
But please don’t spit Christ’s name at me if I’m wishing you a happy holiday.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press. He may be contacted at
(419) 241-1700 or by e-mail at email@example.com.