I got the title of this post from a comedy show I was watching on TV. One character wished the second character “Happy Holidays.” The second character replied, “I have been wanting to say this for a while but; Forget you! It’s Merry Christmas.” The audience erupted into applause.
This debate has been raging in recent years and frankly, I fall on the “Merry Christmas” side. I am not shy about saying “Merry Christmas” and I try to buy Christmas cards that in some way celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord. However, I had to pause and think, “Have I ever been on the other side?”
Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, etc.
At my school, I have a Jewish teacher who celebrates all of the Jewish holidays. Furthermore, she has a remarkable way of sharing the joy of her faith with us without in anyway offending us or diminishing our Catholic identity. During Rosh Hashanah, it is natural for me to wish her a Happy New Year. During Yom Kippur it is common for the rest of the faculty to include her in our prayers for atonement. She gives gifts during the appropriate holidays and I rather enjoy her gestures.
At the same time, she is part of the congregation at our school Masses, she attends the faculty Christmas party and never responds to a wish of, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter” with a “Forget you, I am Jewish.” She says “Thank you” and reciprocates the greeting.
It occurred to me, what is wrong with my colleague and me wishing that one another has a nice day and grows closer to God in the process.? Whether that day be Christmas, Easter or Yom Kippur, no one should be offended if someone else is sincerely expressing wishes of goodwill.
The Holiday is Christmas!
In summary, I am not going to stop saying Merry Christmas for fear of offending anyone. It is Christmas, not a generic holiday. No one should be offended by my “Merry Christmas.” My expression of goodwill should be accepted and appreciated, whether you are Christian or not. Furthermore, most of the time when I initiate a “Merry Christmas”, I get a “Merry Christmas” in return. Even if you are not Christian, what is wrong with me hoping that December 25th is a nice day for you? There is really nothing wrong with that. I mean well.
They will know we are Christians by our love
I think most people say, “Happy Holidays” because they fear offending. My fellow Christians, let us not be part of the fear. Don’t get offended by “Happy Holidays” and please, don’t get angry. Simply reply with a “Merry Christmas” and they will know we are Christians by our love. However, if someone does gets offended by your kind gesture, in that rare case, forget him! It’s Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone!