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Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays?

By Bruce W. Robida



By the end of October, many retailers are already putting out Christmas decorations and advertisements. Some retailers have no problem displaying the word, Christmas, while others have a standing policy that the word holidays will be used instead. Many people go around using the phrase, happy holidays rather than merry Christmas, supposedly so as not to offend those who do not celebrate Christmas. Of course no consideration is given to the fact that many more Christians are indeed offended by saying happy holidays rather than merry Christmas, but political correctness prevails.

So, as a Christian, should I be offended when I hear happy holidays rather than merry Christmas? After giving this much consideration (and some debate with one of my cousins), I have reached a conclusion that will make secularists very happy, and Christians, not so much.

Many of the Christmas traditions that we enjoy today originated before Christ was even born, from Christmas trees to mistletoe, and even the 25th of December. It was the Roman Catholic Church that named the celebration of the birth of Jesus, Christmas (Christ’s mass) sometime in the early to mid 4th century. The Roman Catholic Church, unable to get rid of the pagan holiday, Saturnalia, hijacked their holiday and replaced it with the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas).

So now we (Christians) are suppose to be offended when others don’t recognize the day for what it is. Or do they? They don’t care about the birth of Jesus. They don’t even believe in Him. Is it any wonder that they are so adamant about wishing people happy holidays rather than merry Christmas? After all, December 25th was theirs to begin with. It was their holiday that Christians hijacked to make their own. Now we are in a position that we must share the day with everyone who has come to enjoy the Christmas traditions without giving the slightest consideration to the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.

If Jesus’ birth was celebrated on another day (June 8 for example), would Christians make as much of a fuss as we do now at Christmas? Would there still be gift giving, Christmas trees, lights and glitter? Would Christians travel all around the country to visit family, have huge feasts, and sing Christmas Carols? At least then, merry Christmas would be the acceptable greeting even for non-Christians (if they are really about not wanting to offend anybody). And everyone else could celebrate the traditional Saturnalia held annually on December 25th as usual, and wish each other happy holidays and no one would have a reason to get bent out of shape. I wonder how many Christians would celebrate Saturnalia if the celebration of Christ’s birth moved to a different date. Most I suspect.

For more about the the origins of Christmas check out the following article by CARM

What are the origins of Christmas and can a Christian celebrate it?

Read other articles by Bruce W. Robida

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