Tuesday, December 04, 2012


I said it before and...no seriously, I said it before.  Right here in this post.  So I said it before and I'll say it again: I don't have a problem with the expression "Happy Holidays."

There is a cute music video making the rounds that has prompted me to once again lay out my thoughts regarding holiday greetings and the war on Christmas.

Yes, it's a cute song, but it misses the point: if all the decorations and every ounce of atmosphere is connected with Christmas, then how does saying "Happy Holidays" negate that?  The song lists all the fun things that would be eliminated without Christmas, yet I see no loss of the fun things where I shop. Nor do I know of non-Christians who have walked into their local mall, seen the tree, the lights, the ornaments, and a fanciful re-creation of a Christian saint and said, "All these Christmas decorations deeply offend me.  I was going to storm out of this mall in protest until one of the clerks wished me 'Happy Holidays.'  Now I feel better."

I used to work for a retail company owned by some nice gentlemen who were not Christian.  One was a self-proclaimed agnostic, both were fairly liberal in their world view, but they were both members of another faith tradition, which they practiced, uhhh, religiously.  Yet every December, they'd make sure all their stores were decorated in Christmas finery.  They would pass out Christmas bonuses. They would encourage each location to have an employee Christmas party.  I asked my manager (who happened to be a believer) about why our non-Christian owners would push Christmas so much.  The manager smiled and said, "it's good business."

There could be a million signs saying "Merry Christmas" (and yes, some stores have those signs).  But like the chain I worked for, it did not mean the same thing to me that it did to my employers. Now please don't misunderstand.  I think it is silly and illogical to have all the trappings of Christmas, but not call it Christmas. And yes, people need to be reminded of what Christmas is all about.  But the girl at the check stand making minimum wage is not the enemy in our annual war, anymore than was Bing Crosby as he crooned "Happy Holidays" in 1942.

For me and my house,  "Merry Christmas" will continue to be a theological statement, not just a greeting. And if somebody asks, I will be ready to give a reason of the hope that is in me (1 Peter 3:15). Meanwhile, folks: be nice...let's fight the war on the right front.

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