Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Holidays

In recent years it has become the norm in public to wish people “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”  I can understand the concern about offending the minority who adhere to other religions or no religion at all.  But it is sad to see even this slight connection between our winter holiday and the birth of Christ severed.  A few years ago I was making a purchase in December and the cashier looked at me and said “Merry Christmas.”  I looked her in the eye and replied “Merry Christmas.”  Maybe she was going against company policy by using the “Christmas” word, but it made my day.

Starbucks holiday cup

A few days ago I was in Starbucks and I took a close look at their “holiday” cup (click on the cup for a larger image).  It provides a good case study in what Christmas without Christ looks like.  The cup is decorated in a tree-like pattern with various ornaments on them.  Some ornaments have the words “love,” “peace,” and “hope” on them.  Strangely there is no “joy.”  Others are marked “wish” and “bright.”  I’m not sure what “bright” is supposed to signify.

The largest ornament contains the following text:

We invite you to listen to your desires and to renew your hope.  To see the world, not as it is, but as it could be.  Go ahead, wish.  It’s what makes the holidays the holidays.

I want to make a few observations about this holiday message:

  • It is subjective and individualistic.  The way to renew your hope is to look within and listen to your desires.
  • It challenges us to “wish.”  It doesn’t matter what you wish for, as long as you have a wish.
  • Holidays are apparently about wishing for whatever we desire.

This sort of insipid platitude is all that we have left when people try to regain the feeling of Christmas without acknowledging the reason for Christmas.  It becomes a futile attempt to experience holiday cheer without any reason to be cheerful.  It’s like trying to be thankful in general on Thanksgiving without giving thanks to God.

Contrast that with the real Christmas message:

” And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:8-11)

Now there’s something worth getting excited about!

Series Navigation<< When Was Jesus Born?The Origin of Santa Claus >>

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"True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." -- C. S. Lewis