For much of a year, when evergreen trees stand outside in some forest, they’re just that — evergreens, with no significance or strong ties to anything bigger. They’re something people pass by in the woods — if and when people pass by them — without a second thought.
But come the holiday season, when those trees are cut down, transported to living rooms, town squares and Rockefeller Center in New York City, get trimmed and topped off with a star or an angel, suddenly, those evergreens acquire meaning, something to be proud of as a cultural symbol to Christians the world over.
Even though it has been said that the Christmas tree tradition first emerged from paganism, the tradition has evolved to the point where we Christians have come to embrace this custom and what it represents. We shouldn’t allow anyone to deter us from such pride. To learn about the history of the Christmas tree, click here.
So apparently Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee decided to get politically correct by dubbing the 17-foot-tall blue spruce tree erected in the State House a “holiday” tree rather than a Christmas tree, as the NBC 10 WJAR website reports.
I can be just as politically correct as the next person, by understanding other people’s different cultures and religions. I grew up in an area of North Jersey where multiculturalism is remarkably embraced, where people from all walks of life are included in this microcosm of a melting pot America. If a menorah or a Kwanzaa kinara stands in a public area alongside a Christmas tree, fine by me. If I don’t know if a person’s Christian, I say “Happy Holidays” instead. After all, how can you admire the beauty of a rainbow if it’s only one color?
But in in the case of the Rhode Island holiday tree, the hell with political correctness.
If the governor is going to put up a CHRISTMAS tree in a State House and then call it a holiday tree, the government shouldn’t have erected it in the first place. Keep the Rhode Island State House clear of any religious symbols. To not have symbols present in the State House would be a much lesser insult to Christians and Christmas anyway. In this situation, it’s better to keep church and state separate.
But Chafee just had to follow up his first jab with another one, as quoted in the NBC 10 WJAR report:
“Times are changing. We have to change with the times. And there are those who say the whole idea of Christmas is so removed from faith, it’s not worth protecting anymore,” Chafee said Wednesday.
All right, so Christmas has become a commercialized holiday. What holiday has not become a commercialized outbreak — Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Easter? Chafee had some nerve to even think every Christian has forgotten that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” He does not speak for this demographic, and he certainly doesn’t speak for me. He is simply making broad assumptions without knowing the full facts.
I’m not going to speak for every Christian, Mr. Chafee, but I’ll back off the way you celebrate your traditions if you’ll back off mine.