At the conclusion of a recent telephone conversation, the woman on the other end of the phone line said, “Happy Holidays.” I wished her a Merry Christmas in return. She responded with an indignant lecture on the importance of the non-specific, all-inclusive “Happy Holidays,” lest we exclude some underappreciated splinter of society in our well-wishing.
It’s the politically correct thing to do this time of year. It’s only right to use a generic term like “Happy Holidays.” After all, while I’m celebrating Christmas, that doesn’t mean that you are, too. You might be celebrating Chanukah, or Quanza, or National Venison Day, or whatever you may choose to celebrate. We simply must, at all cost, not offend anyone who may not be celebrating our chosen holiday.
After receiving a stern tongue lashing, I wished her a Merry Christmas again, then hung up the phone. Quickly.
I’m not at all offended by Chanukah or Quanza. I have many friends who celebrate those holidays, and I respect their celebration. What really bothers me is that we’re slowly (or not so slowly) seeing the erosion of Christmas in our society, a sort of PC reverse discrimination against those who wish to celebrate the birth of Christ.
I saw an interview on TV recently with a guest discussing various “holiday tips,” like how old a child should be before they are forced to sit on the lap of a stranger wearing a red suit and fake white beard, while Mommy and Daddy take pictures. Several references were made to “the real meaning of Christmas—kindness, charity, giving to those less fortunate.” All in secular, generic, really-has-nothing-at-all-to-do-with-Christmas terms.
It seems that the only folks the PC “Happy Holidays” crowd don’t mind offending are those who choose to celebrate the birth of Christ. I’m deeply offended at the use of the name “Christmas” to refer to the modern “Happy Holidays” celebration that coincides with our celebration of the birth of Christ. The word Christmas means “Christ – Celebration,” and the “Happy Holidays” crowd is doing everything but celebrating Christ.
It occurs to me, however, that we who follow Christ must accept some responsibility for the erosion of Christmas as a celebration of Christ’s birth. As Christmas nears, where is your focus? Are you focused on trees, and gifts, and family guests, and cookies and stockings and “Happy Holidays”? All those things are good. Don’t get me wrong, I love the trappings of the Christmas season. I just don’t want them to become the focal point, and let God’s abundant love for us in sending Jesus Christ become a secondary issue.
You won’t hear any “Happy Holidays” talk from me. I’m celebrating Jesus Christ.