Okay, nobody has ever told me it’s bad to wish someone a Merry Christmas. But all kinds of Christians on Facebook, where I spend a majority of my time, claim they’ve been ordered not to say those two evil words and that the evil secular people are taking the Christ out of Christmas.
As a Christian myself, I get really pissed off when I hear this argument from religious groups who essentially have control over much of our government, yet claim to be totally oppressed. It’s like asking me to feel sorry for middle-aged, wealthy white men! They are too rich to have to pay taxes like the rest of us and, as such, constantly feel what it’s like to be discriminated against.
What about the people who have the right to celebrate other December occasions (under the freedom of religion part of the CONSTITUTION)? Jews celebrate Hanukkah. Africans and others celebrate Kwanzaa. Even agnostics and modern pagans celebrate in late December – the winter solstice. Do Christians not care enough about those groups to wish them a happy holiday? Didn’t Jesus preach “love thy neighbor?” And if you’re gonna get all Old Testament on me, just think of the flippin’ GOLDEN RULE! Let us also not forget that Jesus was a Jew. Show a little respect!
No one is trying to take Christ out of Christmas. In fact, Christians put the Christ in Christmas by taking a bunch of pagan traditions and turning them into something that celebrates the birth of Jesus, a man I believe truly did die for my sins, but probably was born closer to June 25 than December 25. It is important to note that the ancient pagans celebrated the winter solstice, which falls eerily close to Christmas each year.
What shepherds in their right minds would be tending their flocks by night in the dead of a Middle East winter?? And what of those Wise Men who followed a star for miles with the goal of meeting the Son of God? Would they do that in the chill of December? By the way, the Bible refers to these “wise men” aka the Three Kings as the Magi – the source of the word magic, the practice of which is an apparent sin that can result in a ticket straight to Hell.
And don’t “those without sin,” the righteous yet indignant Christians LIE to their children each year with the Santa Claus myth? What the heck does a fake fat man in a silly red suit have to do with Jesus? Nothing! And it has been pointed out on numerous occasions (most notably on Dana Carvey’s “Church Chat”) that Santa is just an anagram for Satan.
I learned of the pagan traditions from which our Christmas originated in church. My non-denominational pastor taught me all about the pagans who were nice enough to share their time-honored practices with the Christians. These traditions evolved into today’s Christmas tree, kissing under the mistletoe, and hanging sprigs of holly. I have met a few “pagans” – self-proclaimed witches and warlocks – who have never even attempted to tell me not to say “Merry Christmas.” They celebrate the holiday, too. And why shouldn’t they? Christmas is for EVERYONE!
But I choose to say Happy Holidays in the spirit of inclusion. That’s what Jesus would want.
Now, I’m off to Wal-mart to get in a war over a parking space and shoot someone to get the last of the hottest toy. Selfishness – it seems to have become the real spirit of the season. Now who’s taking the Christ out of Christmas, huh?
So have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Cheery Kwanzaa, or Sweet Solstice, whichever you prefer. But isn’t it so much easier and more succinct to just say “Happy Holidays?”