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Should Arlington First Lights Use the Word ‘Christmas’?

Let us know what you think by posting a comment below.

Last Wednesday, we posted an event announcement for Arlington First Lights, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s “holiday” festival on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Readers in the comments immediately pointed out the lack of the word “Christmas” in the announcement – “Christmas” isn’t used in the official event release on the Chamber of Commerce’s website either.

“Is it now officially inappropriate to use the word ‘Christmas’ to describe trees and carolers,” “Zoltan” commented.

“Santa is being used to promote business, but they are afraid to say Christmas. Pathetic!” “Olive Turtle” added.

Not everyone had a problem with the posting.

“The description of the event is perfectly clear about what it’s for, without need to jump through a flaming hoop to shoehorn in the word ‘Christmas,’” “inthegloaming” wrote.

See all the comments >>

What’s your take? Should ‘Christmas’ be used in the official releases promoting the event? Or are you fine with just “carolers,” “holiday tree lighting,” and “Santa”?

Henry David Thoreau December 03, 2013 at 06:12 AM
Well I guess happy holiday is out seeing that only one is left Christmas…..Hanukkah will have ended.
Nana8 December 03, 2013 at 06:29 AM
This is the Christmas Season - holiday is a short name for "holy day" and nobody wants to face up to that. We post Ramadan, Hannukuah, etc., why not Christmas, and say CHRISTMAS.
Wind Dummy 25 December 03, 2013 at 06:53 AM
J Christs birthday. The prince of light comes every year. Merry Christmas deck those halls and have an egg nogg. Just relax stop being such a heathen.
Old Lady December 03, 2013 at 07:29 AM
"a rose by another name is still a rose" or something like that.. Christmas lights are Christmas lights...
eyesore December 03, 2013 at 08:58 AM
"every rose has its thorn."
Jeff Boudreau December 03, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Call fried potatoes "freedom fries" or the lights celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ "Christmas light", the origin is rooted in Pagan tradition. From the Christian Post http://www.christianpost.com/news/beyond-the-christmas-lights-peeling-back-the-pagan-traditions-part-1-65341/ "It's important to know your roots," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "A lot of things we do today have pagan and pre-Christian origins." Chas S. Clifton, editor of The Pomegranate, an international journal of pagan studies and co-chair of the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group in the American Academy of Religions, said many Christmas rituals are derived from pagan traditions. "A great many Christmas traditions reflect seasonal attributes that have nothing to do with the Jesus story," Clifton said. "I would say that all celebrations having to do with light and the sun have a pre-Christian origin, even when given a Christian interpretation – Advent wreaths and candles, Scandinavians celebrating St. Lucia’s day, 'festivals of light and carols,' all that." Dr. Bruce Forbes, professor of religious studies at Sioux City, Iowa-based Morningside College and author of Christmas: A Candid History, said that many current Christmas rituals emerged during the difficult winters pagans often encountered. Candlelight conquered darkness, he explained, and evergreens were valued for remaining green in even the harshest weather. Singing, drinking and dancing, meanwhile, reduced isolation and kept people positive. Christians took such traditions from other societies, he said, eliminating their pagan associations and replacing them with their own explanations. "I think in most cases this was a conscious Christian decision," Forbes said. "It helped them appeal to other cultures with the message of Christ while still keeping other traditions.".... Just putting this into historical perspective, please do not TP my trees or slash my tires.
Jeff Boudreau December 03, 2013 at 10:50 AM
How by referencing Christian theologians am I missing the point? The use of light to liberate from the dreariness of darkness or celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ is shared by both Pagan and Christian cultures. Fried potatoes are fried potatoes, "French", "Freedom" or otherwise. Lights are lights, "Christmas", "First" or otherwise. Use whatever word you wish to modify Arlington chamber of commerce's light display, if you have an issue with "Arlington1st Lights" no amount of whining here will affect the chamber of commerce, it would be more effective to connect through their website - http://business.arlcc.org/contact
Wind Dummy 25 December 03, 2013 at 11:12 AM
So the Pagans run the chamber of commerce? No amount of whining will help. Christmas is a national holiday Jeff. We shouldn't have to whine. Your making me hungry with all the french fry metaphors Turn on the Christmas lights lets get this holiday rolling.
Molly Johnson December 03, 2013 at 11:21 AM
I think it's a question of what are the lights designed to celebrate? I suspect most people think they are representative of a holiday, be it Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa or all of the above. One idea that just popped into my head is to use Arlington's town colors (by the way, what are those? lol) and revamp the display altogether. No controversy, no problem. That might make it more of a Town celebration than any particular holiday.
arlingtonfinesteyesore December 03, 2013 at 12:10 PM
Jeff, People use pseudonym's because of retaliation for not liking a persons view or opinion. Some people are so nasty in this town that they take out their frustrations on certain peoples children. They actually punish innocent kids because they dislike the parent. So Jeff that's why Jeff.
inthegloaming December 03, 2013 at 02:10 PM
The Winter Solstice is the day with the shortest amount of sunlight, and the longest night. In the Northern Hemisphere, it falls on December 21st or 22nd. The SOLSTICE. In Northern Europe, the Druids -- the priests of the ancient Celts (who btw did not believe in/worship "Christ" ) -- decorated their temples with evergreens, a symbol of everlasting life. (Because we humans fear death, big surprise.) The Early Romans celebrated the Saturnalia -- honoring their god Saturn -- on the Solstice, with days of feasting and gift exchanges. The IRANIAN got Mithra was born of VIRGIN birth on December 25th. The celebration of the Saturnalis was too popular with the Roman Pagans for the new Christian church to outlaw it -- so they just co-opted it and renamed the day, and over time reassigned new meanings to the traditions of feasting, gift giving, decorating, and the yearning for everlasting life. But only for "he that believes in Him."
inthegloaming December 03, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Now, all that being said, as an atheist, but not a pagan -- i have no affiliation nor yearning for ANY organized and ritualistic cult -- it's ALL good, fun, spirit lifting, family gathering, yadda yadda. ENJOY! Who gives a flying fig what any of us believe in our hearts as long as we are KIND, non-violent, live and let live -- and, oh, yeh, behave like the Christ most believe in and allege to revere, but often don't emulate. In such cases, I revert to my Italian Catholic family's upbringing and become Old Testament: "an eye for an eye." And hope there is a judgmental dictator in heaven who will mete out just rewards for those who talk the talk but don't walk His walk. :-). Hey, we all have our fav fantasies.
inthegloaming December 03, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Wow, Stephen, weird rebranding of "pagan = fear / Christ = hoprlighthappyjoy" truthiness. You obviously don't know pagans, who revel in connectedness with the spirituality of Nature -- even the "dark" elements. And you're cherry-picking, ignoring the dark threat of retribution in Christianity for not conforming to the dictates of the Church. Christ was the carrot, the Good Cop: God, and the organized Church as His mouthpiece/translator on earth, was the stick/Bad Cop. Hardly all sweetness and light by comparison to pagans. (Who, btw, never came up with tortures the like of the Inquisition.). Anyway, any Christian who claims they are feeling put upon or marginalized by any other belief system is a whinging brat who gets the tiniest violin of oh-poor-you sympathy from me. You all have had your jack-booted foot on the throats of the rest of us for too many centuries. Time to behave like Christians: live and let live. There's room for everyone.
Nana23 December 03, 2013 at 05:54 PM
We call Hanukkah by it's name Hanukkah not "holiday" so in my book it's Christmas, and the lights are "Christmas" lights. Enjoy the season and do something kind for someone else, it's the best gift you can give yourself.
Wind Dummy 25 December 03, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Hey even that bonehead Governor of Rhode Island has given up with the Christmas tree lighting ~ holiday thing. If you don't want to participate don't, if you want to be Pagan go for it it's a free country. I generally keep my nose out of peoples biz anyway seems to work. But if you stick your nose in mine prepare to bleed. And that's no humbug.
griggora December 03, 2013 at 08:12 PM
It is C\Greetings
Wind Dummy 25 December 03, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Carefully there eyesore, I have a sign on the back of my MRAP that says "Danger keep back 100ft Dysfunctional veteran" I do admire a well made doilie I must say. Ever see a lite up conifer in the middle of a Muslim blacked out desert night? It wouldl change your world.
Wind Dummy 25 December 04, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Going to add that to my list of things to conqueror. Doilie making at least 101. Not those imported slave made jobs, the real deal "err" doilie.
Jane Doh December 05, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I have never met anyone who copped to being offended by the word "Christmas." I've got to wonder how much of this controversy really exists.
Laura F December 05, 2013 at 03:02 PM
In my mind the "Holiday Season" has always been Thanksgiving through New Years and all the different religious celebrations in between - so why not "Holiday Lights"?
Old Lady December 05, 2013 at 09:28 PM
How about no lights at all?
Rich H December 05, 2013 at 10:30 PM
But the lights are so nice, and they mesh so well with so many festive (holiday) occasions. It would be really nice if everyone that is having trouble with this, could just dig deep in their christian up bringing, and share the lights with everyone. What's the point of putting them up in public, if you don't want to share them? What would Jesus do?
inthegloaming December 06, 2013 at 12:05 AM
Old Lady wins the Bah Humbug award! :-) it's a tough job, but somebody has to dig deep.
Wind Dummy 25 December 06, 2013 at 02:04 AM
Got a nice family in the neighborhood keeps up a small bank of lights all year from their Christmas display. Looks nice not to off festive. Makes me think of the season when I pass by say in July. Old Lady you don't mean that do you?
Old Lady December 06, 2013 at 06:53 AM
I was joking. I should have added j/k to my comments.
Bill Mailloux December 06, 2013 at 01:11 PM
We keep hearing about "pagan roots" as an excuse not to give Christians any recognition in the "holiday" season but so far I have never seen any pagans doing anything at Christmas. Come on Druids, get off your butts!! What exactly did the pagans do to the Christmas tree? Do I want to know? --- So what if there is a pagan root to Christmas? You guys are not implying that Muslims have no claim on the Dome of the Rock are you? I mean after all, it has Jewish roots. So you should ban Muslims from it or at least never mention them and cover up all Arabic text. That's nuts. And that's what we all should be complaining about. ONLY CHRISTIANS are treated so poorly; Jews, Muslims, Quanza are all treated with respect but not lowly Christians.
Geoffrey Lord December 14, 2013 at 12:38 AM
In response to Mr. Mailloux' 12/6 diatribe, I have just returned home from "The Christmas Revels In Celebration of the Winter Solstice, their 43rd annual production, this year set in Galicia. Pagans, Christians, Jews, Muslims and probably many other religions, as well as atheists and agnistics came together in the spirit of light. Part of the annual program is "THE SHORTEST DAY" by Susan Cooper: So the shortest day came, and the year died, And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world Came people singing, dancing, To drive the dark away. They lighted candles in the winter trees; They hung their homes with evergreen; They burned beseeching fires all night long To keep the year alive, And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake They shouted, reveling. Through all the frosty ages you can hear them Echoing behind us - Listen!! All the long echoes sing the same delight, This shortest day, As promise wakens in the sleeping land: They carol, fest, give thanks, And dearly love their friends, And hope for peace. And so do we, here, now, This year and every year. Welcome Yule!! I invite you to take in one of the dozen or more remaining performances, you can learn more at http://www.revels.org/calendar/the-christmas-revels/
Jeff Boudreau December 14, 2013 at 09:39 AM
"Let us bless and keep one another. Let kindness rule in our hearts and compassion in our lives..." -The Rev. John C. Morgan
Wind Dummy 25 December 15, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Old Lady...I knew you where joshing me! Merry Christmas! Don't the lights look exra lovely with all that extra luminaries off the backdrops!?
Jeff Boudreau December 26, 2013 at 02:50 PM
I stand corrected, the date of the Christmas celebration is NOT based upon others' earlier celebrating the winter solstice. "“Humanists are now making the claim that Christmas was originally a pagan holiday,” he said. “Hey, dummy, look at the word: Christ-mas.”", source "Pastor John Hagee to atheists: Gladly accept my Christmas tidings or ‘leave the country’" By David Edwards, Thursday, December 26, 2013 13:43 EST http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/26/pastor-john-hagee-to-atheists-gladly-accept-my-christmas-tidings-or-leave-the-country/

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