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December 24, 2013 8:45 am

Fuss over holiday greetings obscures season’s meaning

Written by Tom Lawrence

What would Jesus say?

Would it be “Merry Christmas?” “Happy holidays?” Maybe he’d like to hear “Happy birthday!” for a change.

We don’t put a lot of weight into the tiresome debate over greetings this time of year. Some say only Merry Christmas is acceptable. To say and hear otherwise is an insult to the Christian faith, an attack on the holiday, a “war on Christmas,” they claim.

To these people, it’s a very real matter, and something that sparks intense emotion and an occasional angry reaction. There are reports of people being punched, screamed at and threatened for wishing someone happy holidays.

To react in such a way doesn’t seem very Christian to us, and hardly fits with the mood of the season.

Saying happy holidays seems to be a way to acknowledge all the important and religious days that come flying at us during the closing weeks of the year and the dawn of the new. We feel it embraces Thanksgiving, the eight days of Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Heck, throw Festivus in there for the rest of us who enjoy that fictional holiday popularized by “Seinfeld.”

We believe in honoring those who cherish Christmas, and acknowledge that as a major day of celebration in the Christian faith. The holiday — a word that evolved from holy day — is vitally important to most Americans, both as a religious observance and as a secular celebration of family and gift-giving.

It’s one of the two most important days on the Christian calendar, and America has long observed it in a very high-profile way. We see no signs of that changing, although it does seem as if the secular side has passed the spiritual peace of Christmas long ago.

We think saying Merry Christmas should be a way to acknowledge the joy of the season, the opportunity for fun and festiveness with family and friends. But we also wish people would always be aware of the true reason for the season.

But we also wish happy holidays to all, being very aware of the increasing and welcome diversity in this land. We have time, and heart, enough to say both.

We appreciate and accept all well-wishes during this season of festivals and observances. We’re not inclined to look such gifts in the mouth.

So Merry Christmas. And happy holidays.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link December 30, 2013 9:17 am posted by Deb Fischer

    Great article and being a Christian I would not be offended if I heard Merry Christmas and then happy holidays but to hear only happy holidays does offend me. However I would never scream at anyone or punch them how ridiculous. We need to be less politically correct and more respectful of one another.

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