I have never been offended by the term ‘Happy Holidays.’ To be fair, though, I’ve also never thought the term ‘Merry Christmas’ should offend anyone.
But apparently it is a war or something now. Which is so weird because I thought wars were extremely serious things where guns and armies got involved and lots of innocent people died. I didn’t think a ‘war’ had anything to do with entitled people writing argumentative Facebook statuses that claim faux-religious persecution. Huh.
This isn’t going to be a very long post, but I just want to direct a couple of words toward Christians who think their holiday is being attacked or co-opted or something else equally nonsensical.
First off, Christmas is not the only holiday (and, I dare say, not the first) that has been secularized and adopted by people other than the ones for whom it was intended. Look at Halloween. Look at St. Patrick’s. Two holidays originally meant for specific people to observe specific traditions, and now the world has made them about candy and costumes and alcohol and leprechauns (and having a ‘legitimate’ excuse to sexually harass – excuse me, pinch – someone who isn’t wearing green).
What is the Christian beef with the secularization of Christmas anyway? The consumerism? The removal of Jesus from the picture? If someone wants to celebrate Christmas but not acknowledge Jesus, shouldn’t Christians be glad they use Xmas instead? That way they aren’t claiming Christ at all, whether falsely or accidentally or otherwise. As far as consumerism goes, Christians ought to be honest with themselves in admitting that the consumeristic way the world celebrates Christmas is often not different from the way Christians celebrate it. So you do an Advent calendar during December and you make sure to read Luke 2 before commencing the present-opening frenzy. So what? Many Christian families still spend a lot of money on “stuff” and “things” and “toys” at Christmastime. Is it Christlike to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on new toys and gadgets all at one time? Hard to think so.
As far as Christ being taken out of Christmas, who has taken him out of your Christmas? Does someone not acknowledging Jesus or saying “Happy Holidays” take Jesus away from you personally? Do people who don’t claim Christ make you feel as though you can’t celebrate Christ in your home on Christmas Day in whatever way you want to? Spoiler: The answer is no.
The thing is, church, there are a lot of worthy battles to fight in this world in the name of Jesus (human trafficking, child soldiers, extreme poverty etc.), and this just isn’t one of them. December is one of my favorite months of the year because people are kinder during this time. People smile at total strangers and say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!” and it makes you feel warm and happy inside. People help one another shovel snow and scrape ice off of cars. People let others go in front of them in lines at the store and in traffic on the road. People smile and laugh and say “please” and “thank you.” In December – in my experience, anyway – the world is simply a kinder, happier place. And the only threat to all the peace and joy and good cheer being spread around and shared is this silly non-war Christians have tried to manufacture.
Certain people who celebrate Christmas may not see a reason to add Jesus to their celebrations. But something that is universally understood about this holiday, Jesus or no Jesus, is that it is a time to be with family, to love, to be kind, and to celebrate. Which, like it or not, is everything that is Christian about the holiday too. So, if we actually want the same thing – and it appears that we do – then Christians ought to lead by example in spreading peace and joy, rather than religious strife.
The church gets enough bad publicity. Stop giving the world one more reason to turn away from Christianity. It is possible to be both “yay, Jesus” and “yay, holidays” at the same time. Try it, church. You might like it.