The following article is an opinion piece by the author and represents the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
It’s OK To Say ‘Happy Holidays’
We find ourselves in the midst of another holiday season. Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas is on the horizon, with New Year’s day in tow. I’ll let you in on a little secret about these days. We celebrate them all because of things we read about in the Bible. Obviously, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus, our savior. The calendar we use is based on the year Jesus was born, so we’ve celebrated a new year every 365 days for the last 2,017 years. Thanksgiving is a day we set aside to give thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. On a side note, it is impossible to express thanksgiving without espousing a biblical world view, but I digress.
Every year about this time we hear about the war on Christmas. That is a real thing. There are people who would rather no one ever mention the Christ, Jesus, God, the Bible, or anything else of the sort ever again. However, someone saying “Happy Holidays” does not necessarily constitute their own personal war on Christmas. At face value, “Merry Christmas and happy New Year” is a mouthful to say to every single customer that walks in or out of your store, all day, every day, throughout the entire season. Do I wish they would just say Merry Christmas? Yes, because I wish everyone would follow Jesus and live every day for him. Do I get mad when they say happy holidays? No, because that doesn’t stop me from believing, or celebrating, or teaching my children based on what the Bible tells us about the day. And it shouldn’t influence you either!
1 Corinthians 10:26 says, “ The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” That includes holidays. Even if they’ve been commercialized to the extreme, they still belong to God. The problem with the war on Christmas from the standpoint of the church is, we aren’t fighting back! By fighting back, I don’t mean smacking people who say happy holidays. I mean that the battlefield has changed, and the church has to acknowledge it. It has been commercialized. The secular world believes that Christmas is about giving gifts. Why can’t we give gifts for the glory of God? The three magi, or “wise men” in the nativity brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, to Jesus. Why can’t we give gifts in that spirit? Luke 14:12 talks about doing for those who can’t return the favor. What a great way to bless someone! The best part comes when they ask you why you’ve done this. That’s when you get to explain your faith to them. That is exemplifying the love of Christ.
An Irish Catholic priest recently suggested that we give up fighting the war on Christmas, and give up celebrating the birth of Jesus. Well, he’s wrong. It’s still our day as believers, because it’s still God’s day. We should still celebrate the birth of Jesus. We should still tell the story of how Mary was visited by an angel, and told that she would be the mother of Jesus. We should display the nativity, and tell the story of the shepherds who saw the star in the sky and felt compelled to go and see. We should still carry on the traditions that we associate with the birth of our Savior. On the other side of that coin, the people who are against Christmas aren’t coming into the church building to fight it. That’s not where the battle lies. The battle is out in the world. We must recognize that, and fight the battle in the appropriate venue, by the appropriate means. We have to be authentic Christians everywhere we go. When someone says happy holidays, smile. Say Merry Christmas if you like, consider that the person may have no ill intent, and that they may just be trying to finish their shift so they can go home to enjoy the season with their family. No matter what, show the love of Christ, even if you don’t get it in return. That’s how the war will be won.
Danny Burnham Religion Contributor