The question here is: what does it really matter? On one side I hear people attempting to defend the cause to keep Christ in Christmas and on the other side, why should non-Christians have a belief forced on them. I ask, why do either? When you say happy holidays, which holidays are included? Is this for just the big three: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s? Or does it include Halloween, Hanukah, and Ramadan? We don’t generally lump other holidays that are near each other into a holiday greeting. Should we say happy holidays for Valentine’s Day, Martin Luther King’s birthday, and Presidents’ Day?
I don’t really have a problem with someone wishing me a happy holiday. It would work for any holiday I guess. I do have a problem when a person is prohibited from being able to wish me a Merry Christmas if that is their belief. I have also have a problem with someone being forced to say Merry Christmas because that is not their belief. Jesus never forced Himself or His beliefs on anyone and as Christians we do not have that right either. What good is it to wish someone a Merry Christmas when that person is going without food for the holidays or if they are in want of some other need or if we offend them?
To get offended because someone offers any greeting other than what we think they should is straining on a gnat and swallowing a camel. This was the same problem Jesus faced in His day with the religious rather than the righteous. They too argued over religious rules. Jesus accused them of adhering to their traditons of men more than the righteousness of God. Yes, we as Christians need to stand for what is right, but you show me where it says in Holy Scripture that Merry Christmas is more correct than Happy Holidays. I just don’t get why people get bent out of shape over it.
People are more receptive during the Christmas time of the year, that’s true. There are also many who are hurting and don’t understand why their Christmas or Holiday is not like the ones on T.V. or in the movies. Theirs is not necessarily a wonderful life and when you offer either greeting it cuts deep. When we are more concerned about preserving the traditions of men rather than the needs of the unredeemed and expressing the love of Christ, we have missed the mark.
Too many people who are engaged in the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate don’t even know the facts around Christmas. For example, no one really knows when Jesus was born. Many scholars place the time of Jesus’ birth more near the summer time rather than the winter, so are we arguing over a tradition or a teaching of God? Christmas was first celebrated in 336 A.D. because Emperor Constantine said so. Jesus wasn’t even in the manager when the magi/wise men showed up. He was in a house. He was probably around two years old at the time. There may have been more than three wise men. Only three gifts are mentioned, not the number of magi. The stable was probably a cave and the manager was probably carved out of stone. Not everyone saw the Bethlehem star.
Christians should use the Christmas season to build relationships and to reach out to those who do not know Jesus for who He is. People are more apt to express a friendliness toward you when you offer a season’s greeting to them. We need to seize the opportunity to touch their lives with the love of God. We can’t do that when we snub them with a “Merry Christmas” because we were offended by their “Happy Holidays”.