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A War on Christmas?

Posted 12/17/13


The canned music played at a local restaurant for holiday ambiance was pleasantly innocuous, until the selection was a disco version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.’’ Its thumping and do-wooping was so incessantly cheesy that it …

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A War on Christmas?


If there is such a war, you won’t find evidence of it in Middletown. There are a variety of events to celebrate Christmas, from secular delights like a Christmas model train display and hot cider presented by the Middletown Public Library to more religious offerings like the live Nativity scene performed at the Ferry House by the youth group at New Beginnings Church – not to mention several visits by Santa Claus, a Christmas staple.

Christmas bulbs have been hung on evergreen trees with care in the square and on the festive tree at Middletown Area Historical Society’s Ferry House property at South Union and Ann streets. There was a free showing of “The Grinch’’ at the Elks Theatre and a community Christmas carol sing-along at historic St. Peter’s Kierch.

There’s even a Christmas-themed 5-kilometer run scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 21 in Hoffer Park, a borough-run event to raise money for the library. And many local churches are inviting local residents to come to their Christmas Eve services.

One thing stood out among the sparkling lights, shiny bulbs and ho-ho-hos: The Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes, the annual tour of decorated houses and other local buildings held by the Greater Middletown Economic Development Corp. to benefit the Elks Theatre, featured the B’nai Jacob Synagogue, a beautiful piece of Middletown’s history.

Built in 1906 by Jewish immigrants who came to Middletown from central Lithuania, it features beautiful woodwork and stained-glass windows, and polished old pews that once served as benches in the old Dauphin County Courthouse. A member warmly offered coffee and Christmas cookies, and a tour.

Hanukkah usually is celebrated around the same time as Christmas, though it fell during the Thanksgiving holiday this year. The beauty of the synagogue, and the friendliness of the host, were striking reminders why shopkeepers, restaurateurs and residents may wish one another a “Happy holidays’’: It is out of respect, not a war on Christmas.

Good will toward men is a concept that seems to be fading in a world of breath-taking violence, political vitriol and nasty Internet posts.

So to all: Have a happy, and safe, holiday.{jcomments on}