Who Owns Christmas?

Recently I saw a news article on a local TV channel about a family here in a Boston suburb that has been celebrating Christmas for decades with an extravagant display of lights.  This year, for the first time, an anonymous “neighbor” sent them a letter claiming to be insulted by the display.

Now it is true that there are many who react  negatively to such celebrations of Christmas.  Comments I’ve heard and read include people saying they feel insulted, offended, disgusted, oppressed and/or marginalized because of this Holiday, and this letter writer certainly sees the display as a statement of exclusion – Christians celebrating their cultural dominance in an insensitive way.  And, they’re not alone, many have written similar anonymous letters (some with threats) in the past.

OK, Let’s accept that: many do feel this way, including our anonymous letter writer, just as the owners of that home, and many others, are feeling hurt and insulted by what the anonymous letter writer had to say.  Such feelings are a reality and cannot be denied.  But I wonder, was this letter a healthy way of expressing one’s feelings about the display of lights?   (In this case, given what they said, I’d say not!)  But, it does raise the issue: is such a display of Christmas lights as insensitive and insulting as this person claims it to be, and how should we react when such concerns are raised?

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