Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The "Merry Christmas" Wars Heat Up

Over the past several years there has been a battle playing out in the public eye between those that want to emphasize Christmas during the end-of-the-year holiday season and others that want to move away from any references to Christmas. has a good article which can be found here which summarizes some of the political battles that are forming around the Christmas holiday.

For those of us that get irritated when a retailer wishes us a "Happy Holidays" as opposed to a "Merry Christmas", I do think that we can overact on this point. For example, we are in the midst of a season that has several holidays that most American Christians celebrate -- Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. So if someone is wishing someone else Happy Holidays, they may not be seeking to exclude Christmas but are simply recognizing the other holidays that fall in this time of year.

Of course, there are some that have moved away from any mention of Christmas as to not offend those that don't celebrate the holidays (e.g. Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc.) and make attempts to include other holidays like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa that are also observed this time of year. I have no problem with other holidays being recognized for those that celebrate them, but can't it also be okay to recognize Christmas since it is this holiday that the vast majority of Americans celebrate?

Unfortunately, the original meaning behind Christmas (which literally means Christ's Mass or "the celebration of Christ") has been lost in many respects. For the sake of argument, let's say that all retailers go back to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Will that cause us to celebrate Christ more? Or does it just further confuse American consumerism with the celebration of the savior of the world?

It doesn't take the recognition of non-Christian holidays to cause us to miss the point of the Christmas holiday. The presents and Santa and trees and cookies are all fine but the holiday is really about Jesus. I liken a Christmas celebration without including Christ to a wedding without a bride. You may get a good meal and some nice presents out of it, but you're kind of missing the point of having the celebration in the first place.


Chuck Wiese said...

This is one of the better blog posts I've seen on this topic. Whether or not a retailer wishes me a Merry Christmas or not doesn't really make that much of a difference to me. They're trying to sell stuff and probably going to do whatever they think will bring in more money. The term "Christmas" often has more of a reference to Santa in people's minds than to Christ so saying Christmas does not in any way mean that a person is showing honor to Christ anymore than people who use the term holiday are actually referring to a holy day. Besides, Christmas doesn't start until December
25th. They should be wishing me a Blessed Advent. :)

I find it far more disturbing that some churches cancel services for Christmas. "Mass" originally had reference to the time of dismissal just prior to the celebration of the Eucharist. Eventually it came to be used of the entire Eucharistic liturgy and that is how it is being used in Christmas. So, it seems strange that many churches do not actually have the Eucharist on Christmas. It seems like they should at least just call it a Nativity service or something. Otherwise you aren't really having the Mass part.

mdeals said...

I remember the thanksgiving day but Now the celebration time of the X Mas and New forget everything and just enjoy the holidays with full of fun......

have a great holidays to all** :D

Michael Lantz said...

I think that Political Correctness has run amok.I believe that we are doing everything to De-Christian America.The ball got rolling in the 1960's with the removal of prayer from the schools.I believe that it will only get worse before it will get better.That is my opinion.

Linz said...

I don't mind the phrase "Happy Holidays" or being inclusive of other religious/cultural traditions during this time of year. I'm just saddened by the way Christmas is deliberately excluded by many in our society.