Happy Holidays! Yes, I said Happy Holidays, and it felt good. I also enjoy saying Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy New Year. I’m told that saying Happy Hanukkah brings a smile to the lips of many good folks. Then there’s the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, and yes, Chalica and Festivus. And let’s not forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday, celebrations of appeasement to the lords of retail.
Many Christians are becoming increasingly frustrated that the true meaning of their holiday is being crowded out. Indeed, some are saying – with ever increasing volume – that there is a veritable WAR on Christmas, a master plan coordinated by a grand cabal of atheists, big box retailers, socialists, and, well, probably some other bad people.
It seems to me that Jesus’s main message was love. It also seems to me that if we celebrate a holiday to honor Jesus, we don’t honor him by it by bickering with others about it. Do we promote peace on Earth with talk of war? Do we show good will towards men by demanding that they greet us on our own terms?
Never mind that the Bible contains no instruction to set aside a special day celebrating the birth of Jesus. Never mind that most of our beloved Christmas icons – the tree, the holly and the ivy, the mistletoe, the hanging of lights, even the December date – were co-opted from an amalgamation of Druid pagan solstice rituals, Roman sun festivals, and ancient Jewish observances. Never mind that early Christians took existing celebrations and superimposed the birth of Christ onto them. Forget all that. December belongs to us Christians!
“Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” are not declarations of war. Non-Christians are regular people who like to give gifts and spread cheer as much as we do, and we accomplish nothing by boycotting businesses like Target for trying to attract shoppers of all faiths.
I’ll say Merry Christmas, others can use their own greetings, and we can all enjoy the spirit of love and generosity that Jesus taught and lived out. Or we can choose to be defensive and argumentative and speak of war. Which is more Christ like? Christians have legitimate battles to fight, but this is not one of them.
For you, Jesus may be the reason for the season. But the winter holiday season was not ordained by God; it was created by men. It has many roots and it has many reasons. The common thread is that it is a time for merriment, for sharing love and happiness. So fellow Christians, let’s all say Merry Christmas. But let’s not spoil it by taking the Merry out of it.
There’s a time for war, and a time for peace. This is a time for peace.