‘Happy Holidays’ and ‘Merry Christmas’
by James Phillips
Dec 07, 2012 | 2178 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
James Phillips
James Phillips
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“Happy Holidays!” It’s a phrase you hear pretty often this time of year. It’s also a phrase that causes much controversy.

We all know that anyone who says, “Happy Holidays” has got to be a politically correct, God-hating, left-leaning, Communist atheist. (Please read sarcasm into that last statement.)

What’s so wrong with saying “Happy Holidays”?

Several years ago, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly starting pushing this idea of a “War on Christmas.” O’Reilly and others who have bought into this idea say “Happy Holidays” is an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas by keeping people from saying “Merry Christmas.”

Many of the “War on Christmas” folks spend most of December angry that Nativity scenes are removed from courthouse squares or town halls. They also huff and puff about stores decorating with “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

In actuality, the birth of Jesus Christ, for most, hasn’t been the focal point of Christmas in decades, possibly centuries, and perhaps not ever.

Most Bible scholars agree that the earliest Christians do not appear to have commemorated the nativity. Two of the four Gospels in the New Testament give no account of Jesus’ birth.

Many early Christians strongly opposed the celebration of Christ’s birth, believing only pagans celebrated birthdays.

Most scholars also agree that Jesus would not have been born in the winter months. December 25 became a popular day to celebrate Jesus’ birth around 300 AD as an alternative to the Roman “birthday of the unconquered sun” and the Persian birthday of Mithras, both of which were celebrated on or around the winter solstice. Christmas was basically a way to Christianize these winter festivals.

Christmas, today, has become an important holiday, not in religious terms as much as in economic terms. Many retailers depend on the holidays to survive. People are flocking to stores to buy as much stuff as they can.

Christmas, as we have always known it, is in no danger of being destroyed. Christmas is thriving.

Commercialism, consumerism and materialism have waged war on the celebration of Christ’s birth. Unfortunately, most people who claim to follow the baby born in a manger find more problems with someone saying “Happy Holidays” than they do with the illusion of stuff equaling happiness.

Christians bemoan the decorations in a department store, but we have no problem going in to debt to buy things in those stores.

The baby that we claim to celebrate on Christmas grew up to become a rebel. Jesus, the Savior of the world, fought the religious establishment of his day. He healed the sick and fed the hungry. Jesus stood up for the downtrodden and He took care of orphans and widows. He hung out with sinners and He showed us what unconditional love looks like.

Instead of worrying about people trying to take Christ out of Christmas, why don’t we worry about being Christ this Christmas?

There are plenty of opportunities out there to be Christ for someone. There are people hurting right in front of our faces, and we’re probably too busy to even see them. Don’t just wish someone a “Merry Christmas,” make someone’s Christmas merry.

The best way to celebrate Jesus’ birth would be to do what He asked us to do. Ask for forgiveness and forgive others. Love your family. Love your neighbors. Love your enemies. Love everyone unconditionally. If we do those things, we’ll all have “Happy Holidays” and a “Merry Christmas.”

James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or via email at james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.