I’ve noticed with interest some Facebook messages from folks who claim they only want to hear or say, “Merry Christmas.” It’s kind of a back lash against the more politically correct, “Happy Holidays.” I’ve given this some thought, and I’d like to add just a couple of considerations.
First, I feel the need to state, I’m a Christian. I believe Christ was born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary. I believe He is the Son of God. I believe His earthly mission of saving those who suffered, mirrored His bigger mission of saving His mortal brothers and sisters from sin and suffering. I believe that saving grace took place when He suffered in Gethsemane and died on the cross. In short, I believe in the Atonement of Christ. With that said, I also realize many individuals and families will celebrate a different holiday between Thanksgiving and New Years.
I love the word holiday. I think of the word holiday as a combination of two words: holy day. So, when someone wishes me a Happy Holiday, they’re wishing me a happy holy day. For me, it doesn’t get any holier than celebrating the birth of Son of God. So, wishing me a Happy Holiday is a perfectly acceptable expression of good will because it acknowledges the holiness of my celebration. I can do the same for those who may be of different faiths or celebrating different holidays or holy days.
If we study Christ’s life, one of the attributes we find is His charitable tolerance of others. At no time do we see Him pushing His Divinity down the throats of those He had come to save. He stated who He was and then went about feeding the hungry, healing the sick, forgiving the offensive, and binding up the wounds of the offended and wounded. He let His words and His behavior speak for Him. He didn’t insist everyone wish Him a Merry Christmas.
This is how I want to live. I want my life, my words, and my behavior to mirror my Christian beliefs. I want it to be obvious I’m Christian because of how I behave. Not because I demanded Merry Christmas out of those who would wish me a Happy Holiday. There are just bigger things to worry about when there is so much need in the world.
If we really want to go to bat over something, maybe we should skip as much of the commercialization and materialization that has become such a big part of these holidays. Instead, we could work with others in feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, forgiving those who have offended us, and healing the hearts of our brothers and sisters. If we make these things our focus instead of that prized TV or video game, or even the demand for “Merry Christmas,” perhaps we can come together to make a difference for good during these holidays. Alleviating the suffering of others could truly make these days holy, whether we are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or another tradition. And, for those of us who are Christian, these efforts would be at the heart of holiness and Christ.
Thinking on these things has made me come to realize that my main concern really isn’t whether or not someone is wishing me a Happy Holiday or a Merry Christmas. I’m more interested in focusing my energy on trying to make sure I live up to the standards required to be a disciple of Christ. That means I’m going to be more concerned over how I treat others throughout the rest of the year, instead of worrying about whether or not I was wished a Merry Christmas.