'Tis the season, so here is my quasi-annual post relating my thoughts on saying "Happy Holidays" vs "Merry Christmas" -- especially in the context of all the ruckus from well-meaning (if closed-minded) people who complain the former limits their free speech and who insist the latter is somehow better.
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 person who is trying to live in the love of Jesus, 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 press the point by saying "Well, I don't care if it's not your birthday -- I'm celebrating it..." And isn't it even more rude 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.
Closed-minded, eh? Harrumph.
I think part of the "ruckus" as you call it, is because there has been more and more of a cultural shift to get rid of the *real* Christmas. So trees are OK, but not Nativity scenes. (And to be politically correct, we have to call them "holiday trees.") Menorahs and Kwanzaa decorations are not only OK, but they are practically revered for being "inclusive" while anything showing the Biblical story is lambasted. Public schools openly celebrate Chinese New Year, and allow Wiccan parents to come into the classroom to share their rituals, but Christians aren't allowed to share their faith...all in the name of "tolerance" and "inclusiveness" which seem to be the idols of the day. (But this rant extends far beyond seasonal greetings. In my opinion, well-meaning, but far-too-open-minded people are attempting to add a lane or two to the narrow road.)
It used to be that Christians were concerned about keeping Christ in Christmas. Now it seems we have to be concerned about keeping Christmas in the season at all. (Hyperbole? Maybe.)
It's all opinion, of course. But the one thing I know is that Christ came for ALL, which is as inclusive as it comes.
Merry Christmas, Bro'.
Hi Nina -- thanks for your comments. I appreciate that we can all have our own opinions.
In mine (opinion, that is) the "Christians" who are the loudest in ruckusing about their "right" to say Merry Christmas often have, sadly, lost sight of what it means to follow The One who became flesh for us.
He came to us, not giving nasty looks if we don't do what He says. He came to us as an infant and was vulnerable and humble -- bringing love to all, not (as Paul put it) demanding his own way.
But the folks who have been the most in-my-face about the "right" to say Merry Christmas have been very much the opposite of that loving, undemanding, "I'll meet you where you are at" narrow way which Jesus exemplified.
Plenty of public schools who allow First Nationals and Wiccan presentations face suits both from the ACLU and the ACLJ, if they also say no to influences from other faiths.
I think the "real" Christmas that the culture is trying to get rid of is not the one where Jesus came as a baby, it is the one where his followers insensitively and even bombastically argue for the superiority of their beliefs.
In my journey, the best way to keep Christ in Christmas is to let Him open my eyes & heart to how and why he loves the people I know who don't follow Him or celebrate Christmas, and then do my best to lay down my life and my "rights" and love them too.
Beautifully put, Keith.
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