I’m a Christian who wishes people “Happy Holidays”. Here’s why:
1. Come Let Us Adore Him.
If we bumped into each other in July, I wouldn’t get offended if you didn’t know my wedding anniversary was coming up. Sure, it’s really important to me but you’re not married to Laura so I get why it wouldn’t be important to you. Furthermore, if it was my actual anniversary (August 1st) and the nice lady scanning my groceries doesn’t wish me happy anniversary, I don’t take it personally. Hopefully, she could tell I loved my wife by not staring at her like a creeper and treating her with some dignity. She may even wonder as I walked away with my groceries, “I bet that’s a happily married man, I wonder when his anniversary is?”
Let’s not forget Jesus came to reconcile relationships, not start a religion. When I insist on everyone saying “Merry Christmas”, I am promoting a religious system rather than enjoying a deeply intimate and transformational relationship. He did not come as a pamphlet of bullet points for us to agree with. He was born as a baby who many came to adore.
2. Away In A Manger.
Let’s not forget Jesus wasn’t born on top of the Rockefeller in Time’s Square witnessed by millions. He was born in a remote manger seen by just a few. His birth was profound but deeply personal. His birth was covert and quiet rather than obtrusive and annoying.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.” -Gal. 4:4
Anytime I insist everyone say “Merry Christmas” I miss the discreet and humble way God chose to enter this world. I say, “Happy Holidays” because I like to be under the radar. I want the light of the world to shine humbly within me. I want to create curiosity instead of intrude with my answers. A light doesn’t need a spotlight in order to be seen.
3. No Room At The Inn.
The sad reality is Christmas has become highly consumeristic for us all. I say, “Happy Holidays” because “Merry Christmas” seems a bit hypocritical. Insisting on saying “Merry Christmas” to the clerk as I buy a plastic toy for my nephew which was most likely assembled by a child working 12 hours in a factory somewhere in China seems a lil’ off. I’m pretty sure Christmas isn’t “merry” for that kid.
There was no room at the inn for Christ just like I don’t make room for the marginalized and vulnerable. I consume while Christmas challenges me to notice the margins. I say “Happy Holidays” because I don’t want to mix up a homeless refugee who was a friend of sinners with a consumeristic holiday that is only merry for the privileged. Insisting others say “Merry Christmas” is only inviting them into my own hypocrisy and distracting from the selfless challenge of Christ. I’m not being “ashamed of the gospel”, I’m humbled by the gospel which was announced as “good news for the poor.” (Luke 4:18)
4. Prince Of Peace.
Christmas started being celebrated in December to counteract a separate pagan holiday. Sorry, there was no way Jesus was born in December. Furthermore, Christmas isn’t the only holiday celebrated this winter. There are many religious holidays like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (Dec. 16). I wish others “Happy Holidays” because I celebrate our diversity as a nation, not insist on uniformity. I’m grateful for the rich uniqueness of every holiday (especially Dec. 16) and see Christmas as a season of charity, not conflict.
I say, “Happy holidays” because I don’t want to become like Herod who saw his power being threatened by another. (Matt. 2:16) I look to Jesus who came to serve rather than look to my country to serve me. (Mark 10:45) I think of others as more important than myself instead of thinking of myself as right and justified. (Phil. 2:3) I kneel before the prince of peace rather than fight the culture war.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6
When I say, “Happy holidays”, I hope the intimate, humble, selfless, peace of Christmas is loud and clear.