“By golly, if the majority of Americans have been celebrating Christmas for the past few hundred years, why should we have to kowtow to the overly sensitive minorities of outsiders who don’t and start saying ‘Happy Holidays’?!”
“Why should I have to say ‘Happy Holidays’ if what I really mean is ‘Merry Christmas’? Am I too ashamed to admit I’m a Christian?”
It can be challenging to live in any kind of healthy balance these days. It seems we run the risk of offending someone, no matter what we do.
But I’ve become convicted of something recently which has helped me settle this issue in my mind once and for all. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul admonishes us to live lives of true godly love; love that is patient and kind. In verse 5 he tells us that love “is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (NIV)
If I am to live in that kind of love, then I must put other’s first. When I am tempted to take offense in someone not recognizing one of the most hallowed of holy days in all of Christianity, I need to remember that to love as Christ loved means to not seek my own preferences. Christ never led his disciples to revolt against the culture in order to get their own way. Instead, he taught about humility and grace and justice for those who were struggling under heavy burdens.
As a Christ-follower, I am giving the opportunity to practice grace every time someone wishes me a “Happy Holiday.” When I respond with the same, I’m offering grace to those who worship under the heavy burdens of other religions, including the religion of political correctness. I realize forcing a “Merry Christmas” on them as a form of proving my point, or of taking offense, is not an act of love or grace. I know that the happiest of holidays can only occur when I offer Christ-like love to those with different beliefs, living in grace and mercy and sharing the love of Christ through word and action.
“Happy Holiday” is just a greeting, a salutation. In my mind, when I say “happy holiday,” I recognize the recipient of my greeting as someone dearly loved by God. If I want to love them as Christ does, then I need to move past my offense of this two-word greeting and start putting my efforts in building bridges with them. I pray that God will use me to turn their “happy holiday” to the happiest of Holy Days, the Birth of our Savior.