christmasThere is a lot of chatter about whether it is culturally appropriate for Christians to use the term “Merry Christmas.”  Well, it is amazing that our culture has degenerated to the point  where we have to consider whether we will offend someone by saying a phrase that is intended to be a gesture of goodwill, but that is where we are. Everyone should give plenty of space and toleration for however another person wishes to express themselves on the holidays. On a personal level, Christians should have enough good manners to not say Merry Christmas intentionally and directly to someone that we suspect or should suspect does not be celebrate the holiday.

Should Christians be offended if someone refuses to use the term Merry Christians? No. Why would think that everyone should be forced to celebrate Christmas with us? If we want the space to express ourselves the way we want to we must allow others to do the same.

That being said, at a public level, Christians should feel free to use terms that fully express what Christmas is. We are not celebrating a generic happy season but a religious holiday that carries certain particulars with it. We are not intentionally trying to exclude others or make someone feel bad when we celebrate something that others may not believe in, but to be told that we must lose the religious distinctives to make others feel included is missing the point of celebrating anything in particular. You can’t simultaneously celebrate something while distancing yourself from the meaning behind.

To celebrate Christmas while simultaneously eliminating the components of the Biblical narrative is to celebrate something completely other than Christmas. What is the point of having a Christmas parade if it is stripped of manger scenes, angels and shepherds? Maybe it would be a nice parade, but if it is not celebrating the birth of the Christ, it is not a celebrating Christmas. That would be like celebrating Hanukkah without a menorah or celebrating Ramadan by having a buffet brunch.

Finally, A fundamental expression of Christmas is the giving of gifts, and even though Hanukkah and Kwanzaa do involve some giving of gifts, the overwhelming portion of the retail success of the holiday season is due to Christmas. The fact that national retailers feign to celebrate the season along with us by using colors of red and green while scorning the particulars is reducing the holiday to a seasonal gift-exchange. I don’t think Getting upset is an appropriate response, but we should take note of the stores that go out of their way strip out religious motifs and prefer retailers who are actually celebrating Christmas.

Merry Christmas!