Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I Don't Get Offended Over "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings"

Warning: A Little Bit of Sarcasm Ahead

It seems that the latest fad among American Christians who want to feel victimized and have nothing better to do is to get their undies in a bundle over the phrase, "Happy Holidays". (For the record, I am an Evangelical Christian.) I, for one, don't get offended when someone wishes me "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" and here's why.

1. Because I'm a Christian, my Christian friends wish me "Merry Christmas." Most people who wish me "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" usually do so because they don't know me - people like store clerks or waiters and waitresses. Many years ago while I was in college I worked in retail. I usually had no idea if a customer practiced a particular faith or celebrated a particular holiday. This was in Berkeley and there were Jews, Christians, Muslims, pagans, atheists...you name it we had it. Unless a customer specifically wished me a "Merry Christmas" I usually said something like "Thanks for shopping with us. Enjoy your holidays!" Why? Please reread the sentence "I usually had no idea if..." and see #2.

2. Did anyone ever notice that the phrase "Happy Holidays" is in the plural? The holiday season in the United States begins with Thanksgiving in November and ends with New Year's Day on January 1st. During this time, pagans celebrate the winter solstice, Christians celebrate Christmas, Jews celebrate Hanukkah, and I think that Muslims also have a holiday, but I'm not sure. My point is that there are many holidays celebrated during this time of year. By all means, Christians should wish each other a Merry Christmas. But don't expect non-Christians to do so. How about this: if someone wishes you "Happy Holidays" just say, "Thank you." If you respond with a snide "I only say Merry Christmas so 'Merry Christmas' ", then I hate to tell you, but you sound like a bitch and you're not spreading the Gospel. And I guarantee you that the store clerk or waiter will be thinking, "You know where you can shove your Merry Christmas."

3. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: if you believe that Jesus is the Messiah then no one can take that away from you. Furthermore, why do you expect a secular world to acknowledge that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of the Savior? If you really want to get offended, then get offended over the obnoxious display of greedy consumerism during the Christmas season. Get offended over the apathy and lack of compassion while children around the world are sold into slavery, while people go hungry and starve, while people are cold and homeless. But, don't just get offended: put the Christ back in Christmas by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you and put your faith into action:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

May the love and peace of Christ be with you this holiday season and every season.

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