As promised… the “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” post…

Ok, so, here’s the short answer….

I say “Happy Holidays” unless someone says “Merry Christmas” to me, then I return the “Merry Christmas”.

Here’s the slightly (yeah, right!) longer answer…

I have said “Happy Holidays” since long before Bill O’ Reilly (may he rest in peace, SOON!… sorry, that was uncalled for… i don’t wish the man dead… i just wish he’d shut the hell up ) declared the practice “A war on Christmas“. I began doing so during the Holiday Season of 1995. I was a jr in college and spending my fall semester back in Massachusetts, attending Gordon College. I was working at the North Shore Musical Theatre and many of our patrons and guests were Jewish. Trust me, you only need to say “Merry Christmas” once or twice to a couple of old, cranky Jewish ladies before you change your vocabulary. And I ask, “Why shouldn’t we?”. When you say, “Merry Christmas” you disregard the fact that there are other holidays celebrated by all kinds of people all over the world at this time of year. The Muslim month of Ramadan is around this general time. The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is also during this time of year as are the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa and the “traditional” celebration of Yule or Midwinter. It is arrogant and pig-headed to discount all of these celebrations, simply because we may or may not celebrate them. I guarantee the celebration of Hanukkah is as sacred and somber and joyful and blessed to my Jewish friends as the celebration of Christmas is to me and my brothers and sisters in CHRIST. The same goes for those who celebrate other holidays at this time of year.

What are we, as Christians, afraid of? This isn’t persecution… this isn’t lions in the coliseum… this is the natural result of living in a country which says “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses; yearning to breathe free“. We are a melting pot… diversity is what makes this country great.

Let’s try to show some respect for our fellow human beings at this time of year. Would our LORD JESUS CHRIST have encouraged us to go out and offend others? I can hear you now, “Well, some people just like to be offended and they’re going to be offended no matter what!” Yup, you’re right… congratulations. What does the Word of GOD have to say…

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18

As we continue to enjoy the Christmas season, let’s ask ourselves… “Are we doing whatever we can to ‘live at peace with everyone’?”

As always, just my 2 cents!


3 Responses

  1. Matty –

    Good thoughts. I tend to say “Merry Christmas,” since that is the holiday that I am celebrating. If I know someone is Jewish, Muslim, or otherwise doesn’t celebrate Christmas, then I will use the more generic “Happy Holidays.” When I send greeting cards to my clients, I try to make sure that they are generic and talk about the holiday season rather than Christmas. It just seems more professional.

    I think that this works down here in the Bible belt. Everyone down here is a “Christian,” at least in their own minds, even if they have never set foot in a church and their lifestyle is contrary to everything that Jesus ever taught.

    I am sure that the cultural differences in different parts of the country would make my approach more objectionable.

    And as this comment isn’t a cut and paste, I do keep my greetings current for the 2007-08 holiday season. (See I do acknowledge that there are other holidays this season than just the one that I celebrate.)


  2. I couldn’t have said it any better myself – and I tried!

  3. I’ve been chewing on this post for awhile. I, like John, say ‘Merry Christmas’ because that is what I am celebrating. But why not ‘Happy Holidays’ since there are other holidays around the same time? I had to think about that for awhile.

    I have been commissioned to spread the Gospel and not to conform to this world. Does ‘Happy Holidays’ reflect that? I don’t think so. I agree that we need to ‘live at peace with everyone’ but I don’t think that wishing someone ‘Merry Christmas’ is going to make me any enemies (at least not here in the Bible belt 😉 Maybe someone won’t agree with me and they’ll respond differently and that is when I can respect their choice and move on but maybe… it will give me the opportunity to share Christ’s birth with them. I think all too often we are worried about offending someone or making someone uncomfortable. That’s not the example I see Christ setting. He made a lot of people uncomfortable and he certainly offended a lot of people. Now I don’t think He went out trying to intentionally offend people but I believe He went out doing His father’s work and if that offended someone He didn’t make excuses or apologies for the Truth.

    I don’t want to stand before my Father and tell Him, “I’m sorry I didn’t share my faith with my neighbor. I was just trying to respect them and not offend them.” If I can’t stand up for my faith and wish someone a ‘Merry CHRISTmas’ how am I ever going to be able to witness to someone?

    I realize that I’ve gotten a little off track but I feel that it’s closely related.

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