“The Jewish people of Anatevka joyously sing a hopeful song in the face of an uncertain future” in the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” How can it be that Jewish people could have such joy when, according to John Balentine, joy belongs to Christians (“Here’s Something: Have yourself a joyful little Christmas,” Dec. 17)?

While the Bible does contain some references to joy, I can find none saying that only Christian believers can be truly joyful. Apparently, no one told the Jewish people this, because according to Matthew 2:10, when the magi “saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” There were no Christians yet, only the new baby Jesus, who had not yet begun to preach the new religion.

When the Christian Puritans came to America, they were a joyless lot who did not allow the celebration of Christmas – or much else, for that matter. Despite this, Christmas celebrations did take hold, and most of us were raised with enjoyable family and community traditions.

Christmas did become commercialized after WWII with the rise of prosperity brought on by economic expansion. Large advertising firms run by wealthy, mostly Republican CEOs began the six-decade destruction of traditional family values in favor of the money-can-buy-you-happiness model. So it is disingenuous that conservatives try to blame irreligious people for ruining Christmas. No wonder Jesus threw greedy merchants and money changers out of the temple.

Since only 31% of the world’s population are Christian, it is pretty arrogant to assume that 66% of the rest of the world does not experience abiding joy or any other feeling. Talk about cancel culture.

I am sorry for Mr. Balentine’s aunt, as well as the families of the 800,000 people who have been lost to COVID in the past two years. There is much unhappiness and uncertainty in our world, and I think real Christians would be happy to share their holiday to bring all the joy possible to the world.

Susan Chichetto

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