One of the sadder commentaries on our times is the repetition, beginning somewhere between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, of news articles about what has come to be called “The War over Christmas.”

Today, let’s officially declare a truce.

Let’s not have any more people getting upset because some people say “Merry Christmas” and others say “Happy Holidays.” Perhaps this will let those employers who think they have to forbid their workers from offering the former greeting reconsider such policies.

And let’s not complain when green fir trees get strung with lights and then are called “Christmas trees.”

Let’s try to remember that, whether the story is part of our beliefs or not, the narrative that makes today Christmas is about a newborn baby whose purpose is to bring peace and reconciliation to all of humanity.

Even people who don’t share the Christian faith can believe that these are good things to wish other people.

There is such a thing as “the Spirit of Christmas,” and one thing about it is that you don’t have to think Christians are necessarily right about what happened more than 2,000 years ago to believe that peace, love, joy and hope are good things to celebrate yourself and to wish for others.

The Spirit of Christmas includes generosity, so that the less fortunate among us are given food, clothing and shelter. It includes forgiveness, so that if we have some reason to be mad at someone else, we might seek them out and say we forgive them — or ask their pardon for things that we have done.

And the Christmas Spirit encourages celebration (within the bounds of safety) with friends and relatives. In fact, we can even enlarge our celebration to include strangers who have no one else with whom they can rejoice.

Of course, if the story of a virgin giving birth in a manger to a baby who is also the Messiah is part of your faith, then you have that good news to make the holiday especially warm — and provide extra reason to be on good terms with everyone around you.

If the Christmas Spirit is real, then it would be very wrong — if not impossible — to couple the words “Christmas” and “war” in the same sentence.

Let’s not do it anymore.


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