“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” the popular Andy Williams Christmas song proclaims. The sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere and yet the argument of “Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays” persists in our country. Tom White, a US Navy veteran from Virginia writes it better than I ever could:
“But for those like me who refuse to utter the politically correct “Happy Holidays” in favor of “Merry Christmas” let me impart a bit of the reasoning behind my greeting this time of year. Yes, I am a Christian and the birth of Christ is the impetus and origin of the Christmas Holiday. But it is far, far more than that to me.
It is a time to remember not simply Christ’s birth in itself, but the birth of a new hope. A new promise. Of peace, love and good will towards all. And it is an excuse opportunity for family to gather and reminisce about our loved ones no longer among the living on Earth. To gather with new additions to the family and catch up with those who are distant the rest of the year, separated by miles, or sometimes simply as busy schedules.
And we take a bit of the green inside. The spruce, pine or holly represent both perseverance and the promise of the spring to come. Rebirth. Renewal. The future.
Sure, to Christians, Christmas is about Christ. But when I wish someone a Merry Christmas, I am not demanding that they fall in line with my beliefs. No, far from it. I am simply hoping that some of the wonderful feeling I get from holding the child of a niece or nephew for the first time, looking into the newborn face and seeing the miracle of life beginning, full of hope and promise and excitement can somehow be a part of their day.
That the sweet tears of joy that cloud my eyes when I look at photos from some long forgotten Christmas Day with my Mom, my Dad, my Grandparents and other loved ones gone to their final rest might somehow stir a memory of wonderful times past by utterance of the simple phrase “Merry Christmas”.
No, there is no malice, no sinister mandate, no hatred behind the simple phrase. It is something that brings me great joy, immeasurable peace and the fondest of memories that I am wishing for you.
A simple gift. Without strings.
So, pardon me if I wish you a Merry Christmas and you take offense. That is not the intent. And please understand if I wish you a Merry Christmas anyway – even if I know you don’t understand.
For I understand.
Luke 2:11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (NKJV)
Father God, thank you for the Christ in Christmas. Without Him, there would be no reason to celebrate.