Honestly, the most enjoyable part of writing this occasional blog is coming up with the headlines. I get a chance to make bad puns and employ some acerbic word play. There is of course no war on Boxing Day, any more than there is a war on Christmas or Easter or Lag B’Omer (ask a Rabbi about that last one). These alleged wars all stem from a growing concern among many practicing Christians, especially in the United States and Canada, that the sacred holiday of Christmas, and to a lesser extent Easter, are losing their religious character and being watered-down. Retailers who say “Happy Holidays” and light displays without nativity scenes are all tagged as sure signs that we are “losing the war” for Christmas.
I’ve touched on this topic before and obviously, we are at the moment nowhere near the Christmas or Easter seasons, so this may seem like an odd time to address the issue, but it’s actually the perfect moment for reflection for two reason. First, the fact that we are now entering the muggy months of summer means that we are far enough away from the big Christian holidays to get some emotional perspective i.e. there is no danger that Bing will start crooning “Away in a Manger” over the radio as you read this and except for our neighbor two doors down (You know who you are!) there are no Christmas lights in sight. The second reason pertains to two holidays that Americans are unlikely to know much about, but retain considerable emotional weight here in the frozen wastes of Canada: St. Jean Baptiste Day and Canada Day.