Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Battle for the Ages: "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas" XIII

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching... The Christmas shopping season is about to be in full swing, as well.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the angst over store employees saying "Merry Christmas" and/or "Happy Holidays" is in full swing as well.  In recent weeks, I've begun to receive emails from Christians that contain lists of stores that we should not support since they are instructing their employees to say "Happy Holidays".  

I have also read some recent editorial pieces in local newspapers that suggest it is wrong and intolerant for stores to allow their employees to say "Merry Christmas".

Personally, I don't really care one way or another.  I won't be boycotting any stores just because they refrain from wishing shoppers a "Merry Christmas," nor will I be writing a letter to my editor explaining how I think the loss of this phrase signals the end of America as we know it.  In other words, I'm not offended about this shift.

Many, on either side of the debate, however, seem to be rather incensed- feeling like this is an issue of ultimate importance. 

My questions to you are: Where do you stand? Is it intolerant to wish someone "Merry Christmas"? Does it really signal the end of all that America has stood for, simply because someone will wish you a "Happy Holidays"?


Erp said...

I will accept either in the spirit offered. I will probably say 'Happy Holidays' in hopes that no matter what you are celebrating it will be a glad time for you.

I might say 'May you have a good Christmas/New Year/..." to someone who is obviously celebrating that particular holiday.

Drakim said...

I couldn't care less.

The only thing that makes me look twice is that people actually bother to argue about it.

Anonymous said...

I am offended by the fact that a Christian would even ask such a question. To not say "Christmas" is to take Christ out of a holiday and season that belongs to and is about Him.

Shame on you- Imperfect Church! What kind of name is that for a pastor to pick for a blog anyways?!

Imperfect Church said...

Erp and Drakim- thanks for your comments.

Drakim- what do you mean by "looking twice"? I am assuming that this is not a good thing. I would also ask- who do you think makes a bigger stink about how to appropriately refer to the upcoming season?

Anonymous- I am sorry to hear that you are offended by my post. I stick by it, however. I stick by it because I do not see my faith dwindling into oblivion just because a greeter at Wal-Mart wishes me a heartfelt "Happy Holidays." Moreover, I would suggest that you do some research as to the roots of the Christmas holiday, as we now observe it in the West. The roots of this holiday trace back to a "pagan" festival celebrating the winter solstice. Christians decided that they would take this pagan holiday and redeem it. To make a long, and really fascinating story, not so long and not quite as fascinating, Christmas was born. Christians took a pagan festival, redeemed it, and it became an opportunity for Christians to separate the birth of Jesus (which many historians suggest likely did not take place during the winter months).

Anonymous said...

Imperfect Church,

By giving ground to society when it comes to the Christ part of Christmas, we are not taking a stand that needs to be taken. We are sacrificing ground. We are bending to society.

If you can't even take a stand for "Christmas" I wouldn't think about coming to your church. You probably play rock music, wear blue jeans, and read from the NIV. I know people like you. People who have traded in the Christian faith for something that is easy and manageable. Something that you are comfortable with. A religion made in your image. Where you can do what you want. When you want. With no consequences.

Also, Christians would never "redeem" a pagan holiday as you put it. If anything the pagans stole this holiday from Christians. They are doing it today, why should it have been any different back then?

Imperfect Church said...

Anonymous- What does it mean to give up ground anyways? You make it sound like we are in a battle. What are we battling for? Where does Jesus ever call us to wage any kind of war with people, society, culture, etc.? When did Jesus ever wage war?

Obviously, I do not agree with your observation that we are giving up ground. Such a statement suggests that we have ground to give up. As such, you may be referencing the fact that the days of Christendom are numbered. If that is the case, then I would be tempted to argue that is a VERY good thing.

Faith cannot be legislated (neither can morality, come to think of it). Nations cannot be "Christian." Moreover, from some of your comments, I'm willing to bet that if any country would take seriously the teachings of Jesus (let alone actually live like Him)- you would not be happy about the state of the country at all.

With that in mind, I have to object to your claims leveled regarding my own spiritual formation/transformation. You've made a very clear case about what you are against- would you mind telling me what you are for?

Me- I'm all for loving the Lord my God with every fiber of my being and loving my neighbor as myself. At times, oftentimes in fact, I do so imperfectly. Yet, I try to do so. Part of that means engaging in conversation with others that do not believe like me; in an effort to better understand their point of view and where they are coming from. While I may not agree with everything that they have to say, or every view that they hold; such an effort often results in me genuinely loving and caring for that person.

In addition, I would suggest that I am in favor of people understanding what they believe and why they believe it. I think that means taking a look at the historicity, experiential, and logic behind any belief. I think that every person should be a lifelong learner.

Ryan said...

Geez. Anonymous. Looks like you and these people that are complaining are ready to start a war over this. And I thought we would go to war over homosexual marriage first. Wow, you proved me wrong. IC is right about the Pagan thing. I have three best friends who are Wiccan and they told me that Christmas IS originally a Pagan holiday named Yule, which as IC said celebrates the Winter Solstice. You know why cant we all be like Imperfect Chruch? We can't we all be tolerant of other peoples, opinion, intrests, beliefs, etc etc.