“I guess this is just another lost cause, Mr. Paine.
“All you people don’t know about lost causes. Mr. Paine does. He said once they were the only causes worth fighting for, and he fought for them once, for the only reason any man ever fights for them — because of one plain simple rule: Love thy neighbor.
“And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust.
“You know that rule, Mr. Paine. And I loved you for it just as my father did, and you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any others. Yes, you even die for them, like a man we both know, Mr. Paine.
“You think I’m licked. You all think I’m licked. Well, I’m not licked, and I’m gonna stay right here and fight for this lost cause, even if this room gets filled with lies like these!” — James Stewart, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” 1939.
As we enter into the Trickor-Thanks-Mas season again, as we see the mix of black and orange and harvest gold and white and red decorations going up, as we see the placement designed in stores and even store-front windows to reflect which ever part of this season will drag in the most bucks, we have to wonder if the effort to enjoy each of these holidays is one of those lost causes.
Oh, it may not seem like much, in the wake of huge, national chain TV campaigns that begin blaring Christmas — oops, sorry, that’s “holiday” — music at us in the middle of October.
But there are some Americans who would still like to see Halloween enjoyed, Thanksgiving prepared for and honored and then, finally, to enter into the Christmas Season after the turkey platter has been put away.
Certainly, in this day of over doing, over spending, over stretching our credit, we recognize that this is one of those lost causes. Those of us who seek the traditional holidays can’t stop that enormous juggernaut that funds millions in TV promotion. We can’t even impact a local window display.
That is all the more reason we should consider our part in this season.
Each of these holidays deserves to be recognized, individually.
Americans really should make the first one simply a fun time for kids again, and the other two should really be returned to their spiritual centers that were originally intended for them.
It is up to us to insist on that in our lives, even if we can only chose to fight for this lost cause, just as James Stewart suggested all those years ago.
It is up to each of us to observe these holidays in ways that do promote that “one plain simple rule: Love thy neighbor.
“And in this world today, full of hatred, a man who knows that one rule has a great trust.”
That was a powerful sentiment in 1939.
And it is still just as important today.
— Chuck Smith