- The Washington Times
Thursday, December 12, 2019


Well, it’s the time of year to hustle and bustle to try to reroute the reason for the season.

The diversions are legion.

Here in the District, a “domestic issue” pierced sacred ground Tuesday morning, when a man stabbed a security guard and deliberately struck a woman with his SUV. The scene: the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Roman Catholic church on U.S. soil. Police nabbed the suspect after he had barricaded himself in a private residence.

Also, Thursday afternoon a gunman shot at police near Catholic University, a neighbor of the basilica.

In Texas, a woman thief was caught on camera stealing Baby Jesus and his manger from a Nativity scene on a lawn. (Ha! Perhaps she needed Jesus more than the victims.)

In Jersey City, one of New Jersey’s cosmopolitan areas, a kosher grocery store was attacked in what law enforcers have called an act of domestic terrorism.

Sometimes, there’s neither peace nor good will toward men and women — even during this time of year, when Hanukkah, the birth of Jesus Christ and Kwanzaa are simultaneously honored and celebrated.

That latter event, Kwanzaa, was established in 1966 (when protestations were every day everywhere) as a seven-day cultural event that begins the day after Christmas. Each day has a theme — unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith — and you needn’t be African-American to appreciate any or all of those principles.

Holy days and Christmas holidays began overlapping during World War II, when worshippers at Calvary Baptist Church in D.C.’s Chinatown began its “Christmas in July” program, which encouraged its faithful flock to donate presents early enough for transport to foreign lands.

Well, lo and behold, Wall Street latched on, and these days, end-of-summer deals merge with back-to-school merge with fall — and from there Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday/Week and Christmas can become a lengthy blur.

Who’s hosting what event where, what size and age are the kids and where can I have a glass of Tanqueray and cranberry juice? In peace.

There is a sanctuary away from the hustle, a sacred space called the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. And it’s a glorious wonder this time of year when hundreds of red poinsettias and white lights lead the way.

2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the basilica, and the prayers for peace, unity and kindness will not be too political and could go a long way in the United States and elsewhere around the globe.

So, take a respite, a few deep breaths and forget about the retail spinning of the holidays and rethink the faith aspects of December.

And, gals, no need to take offense: “On Earth peace, good will toward men.”

⦁ Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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