Merry Christmas to all.
If you have a Merry Christmas, is it still a happy holiday? Or if you wish others a happy holiday, does that mean it can’t be Christmas? This year more than others, I’m familiar with these two greetings and the arguments surrounding each. What people around me say has changed, as I moved this year from a Christian organization in the Bible belt to an organization whose beliefs include diversity and inclusiveness — located above the belt and into what I perceive as the “whatever you want to believe is good” waistline. But does that matter?
This time of year, for me, celebrates Christ’s birth and arrival to the world as a humble, lowly man who is my Savior. Merry Christmas! But for someone else, this time of year celebrates Santa Claus, general goodwill or peace, or racking up debt on the credit cards. Merry Christmas?
A Christian snubbing the “Happy Holiday” greeting in favor of saying “Merry Christmas” might be making a personal statement about the meaning of the holiday to him, but do the words really carry that meaning to anyone else? Wouldn’t someone saying “Happy Holidays” as he slipped money into the Salvation Army bucket be relaying a Christ-like message, without the exact words? And would a Jewish woman who told me to have a happy holiday take away the meaning of Christmas for me by not using those words? No.
While I will continue to say “Merry Christmas” — except in an awkward phone message today that ended with me saying “Merry Holidays and Happy Year” before I threw the phone down in embarrassment — I will not be offended if my greeting is returned with “Happy Holidays.” It’s still Christmas to me.