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Merry Christmas Vs. Happy Holidays: Let’s Get Real For A Minute

I’ve written about this before but I guess it’s always on my mind this time of year because it’s so prevalent. I’m speaking of course of all the talk, back-and-forth bickering and condescending comments about saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, or vice versa.

I don’t tend to debate much about things. You’re not going to change someone’s mind anyway, so you’re just inviting yourself to an argument. I try to avoid those. I do think though, that we as believers spend way too much time and effort on this whole “keep Christ in Christmas” than it deserves. First of all if I believe that Christmas is about Christ and celebrating His birth, then someone saying “happy holidays” doesn’t change that for me. Neither does seeing it abbreviated “X-mass”, which I explained in another article was an abbreviation that was started and used primarily by Christians.

The point I’m  making here is that if you believe Christmas is about Christ and for you He is the reason for the season, nobody can “take Him out” of Christmas for you. So why even waste time and energy arguing or getting upset about it? I believe what I believe, period.

But if we’re being completely honest here, many of us as Christians aren’t doing a whole lot to keep Christmas exclusively about Christ other than saying it, and participating in the various Church Christmas programs. Pretty-much everything else most of us do is the same thing everyone else does. We observe all the decorations, all the parties, all the commercialism and spending, etc. We meaning me too.

And if I stopped right there you could still say that’s all about Christ. You could say we over-spend on toys and gifts every year in observation of the wise men who brought gifts to Christ.

You could make an argument that we’re putting up Christmas trees because of the tree Christ hung on- even though Christmas trees have been proven to have pagan origins. In fact a lot of the things we celebrate have their beginnings in pagan rituals. I don’t even have a problem with THAT, believe it or not. Because again, for me it means what it means, and I believe what I believe.

But what I don’t get is the whole embracing of Santa in Christmas. We have no problem wearing Santa hats at our Christian Christmas gatherings, and allowing our children to believe in Him. I mean what part of keeping Christ in Christmas is that? That’s ok with you, but saying “happy holidays” isn’t?

Listen, I don’t believe in pointing a finger, judging and putting down others. I think we as believers do way too much of that. It’s why people are so respectful and tolerant of almost every other religion but Christianity. So this article isn’t designed to criticize. On the contrary, it’s designed to do the opposite. It’s designed to maybe get US to stop being so critical of others. There’s a scripture in the bible that says something to the effect that even the most righteous of us will barely make it in. Another one that says a whole lot of people who thought there were a shoe-in will be surprised.

So I guess I find all this purity talk about making it all about Christ this time of year both completely unnecessary and slightly hypocritical. Unnecessary because if Christmas is all about Jesus for you then nobody can change that by saying “happy holidays” or anything else. It’s still about Jesus. Hypocritical because most of us are indulging in pretty-much everything that makes it less about Jesus, including the inclusion and embracing of Santa. Right down to taking our kids to the mall to see him right along with everybody else.

The truth is downloadterm “Happy Holidays” is not some war on Christmas, nor is it some attempt to “take Christ out” of Christmas”. People celebrate Christmas all over the world, and not all of them are Christians. Like it or not, Christianity isn’t the only game in town, and we don’t exclusively own this holiday. People say “Happy Holidays” because it is a more inclusive term that respects all beliefs and religions that celebrate this time of year. It’s a term you can say to anyone of any religion without offending them (except us, that is). Also, at least here in the U.S, it’s an easy way to include all the back-to-back holidays we observe this time of year in one friendly greeting.

Yet this little Facebook image to the right is indicative of the attitude many Christians embrace this time of year. Ironically, of all the different faiths and religions all over the world who celebrate Christmas we’re the only one who manages to find something to criticize and be angry about. So I’d say maybe it’s we who need to get over it.

I only offer my two cents here in the interest of balance and enlightenment. It would be great if Christians could, I don’t know, act more like followers of Christ maybe? But if after reading my little diatribe you still insist on criticizing people just for saying “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, because it’s “all about Jesus” for you, at least take the Santa hat off first.

Click here to read my article “The Truth About Xmas”

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