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Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Do we really need to do this perennial War on Christmas thing?

It’s that time of year again. We’re eating way too much. There are those commercials featuring cars sporting red bows. We’re running from one store to the next trying to find the perfect gift.

The checkout clerk in some of those stores will wish you “Merry Christmas.” In other stores, you’ll be sent on your way with “Happy Holidays.” And with the predictability of the return of the Hess truck, there will be some in the Christian community, egged on by Fox News' perennial "War on Christmas" segments, who register their outrage over the latter seasonal greeting.

I just don’t get the need for the annual Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays battle. Why are some so impassioned over this? Is this a hill really worth dying on? Are we who are Christians so insecure that we are driven to force everyone to recognize our holiday and ours alone? Is hearing a sales clerk wish us “Happy Holidays” really so offensive?

It is often argued that “Jesus is the reason for the season;” therefore, we must say this time of year is Christmas, not merely a holiday season.  But as I drag those seven bags of indulgent consumerism out of the mall, is Jesus really the reason for that? If not, why then should I demand that His name be invoked by the clerk while assisting me with my purchases?

Don’t mishear me. I’m quite alright with sales clerks wishing me “Merry Christmas.” But I’m no more or less alright when they kindly wish me “Happy Holidays.”

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Craig Weidman December 10, 2012 at 01:52 PM
As I read the scriptures through their historically rooted context, I see myriad of examples of Jesus (as well as the directives and correctives of the Father and activity of the Holy Spirit) being both liberal and conservative. It seems to me that Jesus wouldn't be a Democrat or Republican, a Fox News loyalist or an MSNBC loyalist. Nor do I think he would take offense if his checkout clerk said, "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." Jesus transcended (and transcends) the labels, divides, cultural tribalism, and other polarities that pull us apart and against each other. And he wants to transform us who are his followers to respect, love, and live peaceably with those whose take on the world may be different than ours.
Dan McKinney December 10, 2012 at 01:57 PM
People complain because they see that state sponsoring Christian displays. And the basis for their objection is that pesky liberal document called "the Constitution". If it had nothing to say on the subject, the courts wouldn't even consider any of this stuff. But because the constitution bans state-sponsored religion, citizens are within their rights to object to state-sponsored religious displays. So, blame the constitution of the United States for this "war on Christmas!" The so-called war is not anti-Christian; it's ant-governement-sponsored-religion. And why do those on the right who complain so bitterly about overeaching government involvement feel that it's OK to use tax dollars for religious displays? Never quite understood that. And by the way, the same folks would complain if the state sponsored Muslim or Hindu devotional displays, too. Which is generally doesn't do.
Dan McKinney December 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM
And Maynard - shave off that ridiculous goatee! It's not 1959 any more!!
Al Fundo December 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM
wouldn't the checkout clerk just say happy birthday to Jesus? Happy Saturnalia everyone!
Salisbury Resident December 10, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The check out clerks should say Happy Holidays, because both Christmas and Hanukkah are celebrated at this time. How does the clerk know who to wish Merry Christmas to or Happy Hanukkah to? Better and easier to simply say "Happy Holidays!" What's the fuss? The government should not be favoring ANY religion due to the separation of church state issue. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah is a religious greeting, so save it for your friends, family, and fellow church/temple goers. Personally, I think Jesus would be disgusted at this society's display of rampant greed and consumerism in his name anyway. If you're going to invoke his birthday in the mall (which educated people know is NOT really his birthday anyway) I think he'd be quite confused and want to have a talk with you about what it really means to be giving.

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