Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Holidays

I received an eMail recently, linking me to this YouTube video. The video seems to imply that being asked to say "Happy Holidays" is somehow offensive to Christians and we should stand up for our "right" to say "Merry Christmas" to people instead -- even if it offends them.

It made me think about a post I wrote back in 2005 -- so I am re-posting it here -- what do you all think?


I like Thanksgiving. I also like celebrating Christmas, and the start of a New Year. I also like learning about other cultures and traditions. Channukah, Kwanzaa, etc.

So am I the only one who doesn't really mind saying "Happy Holidays" to people?

I mean, sure, I'm a Christian and so for me the signifigance of Christmas is such that this one holiday is at the center of my holiday season. But I know that's not true for everyone.

Me wishing a "Merry Christmas" to people who don't celebrate it is like me saying "Happy Birthday!" to someone when it isn't their birthday -- isn't it? And isn't it rude for me to just assume that everyone I know thinks like I do, and celebrates the same things -- and isn't it even more rude for me to somehow imply they should, by making a big deal of only saying "Merry Christmas", or griping when an employer encourages the use of "Happy Holidays" instead?

And anyway -- aren't "holidays" really just "holy days" and if "holy" means (among other things) "set apart" and "special" then why all the fuss when employers encourage people not to say "Merry Christmas" and instead only "allow" them to say "Happy Holidays" -- isn't that a nicer thing to say anyway -- more inclusive?

Maybe it's just me.

~ Keith


KandN said...

No, it's definitely not just you. When I first heard about Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays, it had a manufactured feel to it. Something that was created to outrage us and pit "us" against "them". And so I went along my merry way continuing to say, "Happy Holidays".

Frontline Resources said...

On the employer/employee note, I believe the overarching principle is for employees to be submitted to their employers (those with authority over them). So, rather than gripe, they should pray that the Lord turns the King's heart where ever He will.

On a broader note:

Inasmuch as God has given people the freedom to choose and follow Him or not - to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, to wish someone a great Spring Solstice instead of a Happy Easter, or to utter the words God damn you rather than God bless you - I don't believe it is my job to force my preferences on others.

On the other hand, one need not acquiesce one's core beliefs reflected, in part, by voicing a simple "Merry Christmas" just because it might offend someone.

Perhaps it would be helpful to recall the harder-to-embrace truth that Jesus did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34) or that Paul spoke of the cross as necessarily offensive (Galatians 5:11).

As salt and light we need not be too bright or excessively applied, but neither should we put our light under a bushel or fear shaking a little potentially healing and preserving salt around "happy holiday" folks - and the like.

Much Scripture exists in dynamic tension with other Scripture and I believe we need God's wisdom and discernment (in Love) to know which pedal of truth to push from time to time, with person to person and circumstance to circumstance. Different fish bite on different bait. Hence, I don't believe there is necessarily a "one size fits all" approach to Happy Holidays folks and the like.