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Garrison Keillors bitter Christmas screed.

23 December 2009

Garrison Keillor had a very interesting column in the paper titled, “Nonbelievers, please leave Christmas alone”.  These days he sometimes sounds like a cranky old man.  I frankly agree with some of his conclusions, but he really missed the point on others. The hijacking of Christmas has more to do with the unrestrained consumerist mentality that has overtaken our country. The fact that some Christmas songs were written by Jews is beside the real issue. Here is an excerpt,                                                                               

“Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that’s their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite “Silent Night.” If you don’t believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn “Silent Night” and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write “Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah“? No, we didn’t. Christmas is a Christian holiday – if you’re not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don’t mess with the Messiah.
Christmas does not need any improvements. It is a common, ordinary experience that resists brilliant innovation. Just make some gingerbread persons and light three candles and sing softly in dim light about the poor man gathering winter fu-u-el and the radiant beams and the holly and the ivy, and you’ve got it. Too many people work too hard to make Christmas perfect, find the perfect gifts, get a turkey that reaches 100 percent of potential. Perfection is a goal of brilliant people, and it is unnecessary where Christmas is concerned.”

I’ve been a fan of Garrison Keillors for many years and once had the pleasure of hearing him speak in person.  I think that he must have been having a bad day when he wrote this column though. It’s a quite caustic.  On the other hand I’m happy to know that Mr. Keillor still confesses a faith in Christ and can get this emotional about the watering down of the celebration of His Nativity.

If you’d like to read the whole column here is a link:,0,225627.story

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