I know. I know. Do we have to get into this Merry Christmas issue again at every Christmas season? Well, yes, if you have any concern for the gradual chipping away at our American values, traditions and culture. Yes, if you want to protect our society from the ACLU’s obsession with political correctness and the courts’ anti-Christian over-interpretation of the First Amendment. However, we don’t have to protest and boycott to make our heart-felt point. Just bid a loving “Merry Christmas” this year to everyone, and you communicate your faith in Christ and your celebration of His birth. Here are some further thoughts.
The expression, “War on Christmas,” comes from the early 2000’s when prominent conservatives, including Bill O’Reilly, took issue with many retail stores. The stores were mandating their internal use of “happy holidays” or other generic greeting in place of any reference to Christ in Christmas. This evolved as American culture was becoming increasingly paranoid about personal offenses and political correctness. It was also about the time Christian symbols such as nativity sets in public places were saturating the courts as opposing the First Amendments prohibition of the establishment of a national religion.
Over the following few years, almost any attempt to connect Christ with Christmas was considered by many liberal leaders and judges as illegal or as undue pressure on innocent victims. Even many conservative Christians ceased displaying Christmas symbols in public places and saying “Merry Christmas” for fear of receiving the undesired present of legal challenges at most or offending someone at least. Today, it seems that we aren’t seeing as much hateful speech or protests around this issue. There are fewer news topics about removing Christian symbols from public places. However, I’m convinced this is not because liberal sentiments have waned, but rather because conservative Christians have become more accepting of these illegitimate restrictions.
Should we conservative Christians be more resolved to counter the opposition often forced on us by those who perceive trivializing Jesus Christ is not a big thing? It’s a very big thing, and I believe He expects His followers to keep Him famous among the people. If you choose to protest in some way, that is understandable and certainly your right to do so. If you choose to wear a button that marks out “happy holidays” and adds “Merry Christmas,” that is fine, too. However for me, I choose to simply say, “Merry Christmas to everyone and often during this Advent month. Every store clerk, office assistant, and restaurant server will get my verbal “Merry Christmas.” This is a great way to share your faith with someone who may be searching for truth. If someone says “happy holidays,” I will smile and reply, “Merry Christmas as if to gently correct the error.” My emphasis will be recognized. If I am shopping in a store that has lots of holiday greetings, but no “Merry Christmas” anywhere, I will express my disappointment to the clerk and, if I feel led, will take it up politely with the manager. If you choose this approach, such respectful, but emphatic, actions will find their target without your being identified as just another one of those conservative Christian Christmas fanatics.