“’Tis the season to be jolly.” But, as usual, not for all of us. It is the Christmas season, that time in December when all good Christians celebrate the birth of the Savior of mankind, born in a stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

It is a time of family gatherings and gift-giving, of joyous music and fond memories. For some, it is one of the two days of the year, Easter being the other, when they return to the old church for the feast day that yet retains its hold upon them from childhood. Even many nonbelievers celebrate, for Christmas joy is contagious.

But not for all. For some, it is not too much to say they hate the idea of Christmas with a deep abiding hate, not just the “Bah, humbug!” dismissal of old Scrooge. They want Christmas dead.

As usual, they are busy at work, going to court to get Nativity scenes expunged from public squares, demanding that statues of Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus be removed from department stores and parades, checking vigilantly to see that any and all caroling at public schools is free of such outrages as “Silent Night.” For such as these, even Santa has become an intolerably divisive figure who must be purged from public life.

And this year again they are meeting with some success, especially with a business community for whom Christmas has always been about sales volume not salvation.

Target stores have told the Salvation Army it may no longer station volunteers with their red kettles at store entrances to solicit charitable contributions for the poor. The 30-year tradition that reaped the Army $9 million a year has been terminated.

The reason, says Target, unconvincingly, is so the company can have a consistent policy of no solicitations outside its stores. But in recent years the gay lobby has pressured Target to ban the Army because it is Christian and rejects homosexuality as sinful.

Now Macy’s has stopped using the phrase “Merry Christmas” in all store advertising, replacing it with what Macy’s calls the more inclusive “Seasons Greetings” and “Happy Holidays.”

But how is it “inclusive” to exclude the Christians’ greeting? Is that not anti-Christian? Why would the Macy’s of the “Miracle on 34th Street” do such a thing? Why would Federated Department Stores, Macy’s parent company, impose such a policy?

By Newton’s laws of motion, an object moving in a given direction will continue to do so unless an outside force intervenes. What hidden force intervened to cause Macy’s to reverse course and suddenly sever its ties to Christmas? Who insisted that Macy’s cease to mention Christmas, the holiday around which its selling season is built?

It is hard to believe some Macy’s executive took it upon himself to make so offensive a decision as to expunge “Merry Christmas” from the store when so many of Macy’s most loyal shoppers were certain to be disheartened and hurt. Who is trying to kill Christmas?

It needs to be said: what we are witnessing here are hate crimes against Christianity, the manifestations, the symptoms of a sickness of the soul, a disease a Vatican diplomat correctly calls “Christianophobia,” the fear and loathing of all things Christian, coupled with a fanatic will to expunge from the public life of the West all reminders that ours was once a Christian civilization and America once a Christian country.

Americans are among the most tolerant of peoples. No one demands that any dissenting adult or child be made to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, or join in Christmas caroling, or be forced to say a prayer before class, or go to church at Christmas. The Christian majority only asks that they be free to be themselves, to exercise their freedom to express their love of their Savior as the First Amendment has always guaranteed.

But what are we to make of Maplewood, New Jersey, where the Columbus High School brass ensemble was ordered not to play a single Christmas carol at their holiday concert, not even an instrumental version? Parents and students were outraged. “This is censorship at its most basic level,” said student Ryan Dahn. Correct, Ryan.

In Denver, officials of the annual Parade of Lights refused to permit in the parade a float carrying the banner “Merry Christmas” with members of the Faith Bible Chapel congregation who were to sing Christmas carols. Approved was a float sponsored by Two Souls, an American Indian group that considers homosexuality holy.

While Christmas often brings forth the best in some of us because of who and what is being celebrated, that is not true for all of us. For some it brings forth the purest malevolence. Why? Sadly, because they do not know Him. Nevertheless, Merry Christmas—to all.