Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. The debate rages on, or not.
Last week I got on a tiny tangent about Merry Christmas and the fear some have that Christ is being taken out of Christmas. Dear Husband read the paragraph in that little post and said, “Well that was subtle.” It was written in love so I didn’t think too much more about it.
Last Sunday was the fourth Sunday of Advent when we light the candle of love. As our minister began his sermon, the first talking point was about a recent ‘Letter to the Editor’ he read in the paper regarding “Happy Holidays” and how as Christians we need to retaliate with a “Merry Christmas” with everyone we meet. The minister did concede that our culture has lost the true meaning of the word Holiday. It is actually a combination of the words “holy” and “day” referring to the combined 28 days of Advent and 12 days of Christmas for a total of 40 holy days.
“However, whether a merchant or an agency recognizes it, to wish someone ‘happy holidays’ is not bowing to political correctness; instead it is encouraging spiritual dedication to live the days stretching from late November to early January with a deep sense of the sacred and the holy in our midst.”
It was at this point in the sermon that I looked across the choir to Dear Husband and raised an eyebrow to say “See…I said it first!” He returned my mental note with a wink and a grin to say “I know, I know. You’re probably already blogging about this in your head right now, aren’t you?”
The sermon went on to admit that this answer would probably not satisfy the Merry Christmas brigade. Every year I hear the concerns that there is a war on Christmas and Facebook has become a great place to post and re-post these concerns. Just like the letter to the editor, a lot of these arguments turn Christmas into a way to fight back. Who, exactly I’m supposed to fight back against I’m not quite sure but the idea of fighting over Christmas misses the point of the Christmas spirit altogether.
“Christianity, that religion born through Jesus of Nazareth whose birth many celebrate in this season of the year, can certainly be prophetic, transforming, hospitable, thoughtful, even challenging – but nowhere and at no time including even on Good Friday was Jesus ever retaliatory, and Christianity in the spirit of it’s pioneer is never retaliatory.”
Christmas isn’t going anywhere. There’s no need to shout it at the store cashier with a scowl on your face. Christmas is in our hearts. Christmas is in the love we show each other, Christmas is in the donation to the food pantry and letting the other driver go ahead of you at the crowded Christmas Eve Target parking lot. Christmas came to earth over two thousand years ago to bring hope, joy, peace and love to mankind and continues to come to earth every single day in each one of us. Should we allow ourselves to be vessels of Christ’s love then Christmas will always be Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to you and yours.