By Jack Glover
Some things in this life are confusing. It is not uncommon for me to see some TV commercial and, when it is finished, ask someone if they understood the point being made. Well, I must admit that I also am confused about all the news items about using “happy holiday” versus “merry Christmas.” Maybe you can help me out.
It seems in their effort to eliminate any reference to Christ, to religion in general or to be politically correct, many liberal-minded or atheistic people want everyone to quit saying “merry Christmas.” I would be inclined to agree with them if I thought their motives were pure because Christmas as a religious holiday is not a biblical concept. However, I suspect the movement is driven by those who want to eliminate all references to religion from our lives in the same way they have with prayer, displays, words, etc.
What is Christmas? Is it a holiday? Yes, it is a holiday in most parts of the world. Then what is wrong with saying “happy holiday”? As far as I can tell, nothing, as long as no strings are attached. But this movement now among us does attach strings, which is just one more step in taking away our freedom.
If my understanding is correct there are situations when I can be told what expression I must use in reference to December 25. I am required to say “happy holiday” or something similar, but I cannot say “merry Christmas.” Do those who advocate, and are forcing, this position oppose my wishing someone a “happy Thanksgiving” or a happy any other day? I don’t think so.
What is the problem with “merry Christmas”? Could it be because Christ is part of the word? What word or phrase will be next? Do you think it is time to take a stand and put a stop to those who are the ones forcing opinions. I do.
Let us consider another confusing thing. Among those who oppose the “happy holiday” position, some are canceling services on Sunday, December 25. That seems to be a strange position if this is the day we are to reverence Jesus’ birth. Would you not think all the more emphasis would be placed on attending services rather than canceling them?
In the beginning of this article, I asked, “What is Christmas?” Is it a holiday? My answer was, yes, it is a holiday. It is a holiday — but not Christ’s birthday. Notice the following:
- There is no reference to the date of Christ’s birth in the scriptures.
- There is no scripture teaching us to observe December 25, or any other day, as his birthday.
- There is no recorded information on his date of birth.
- The real reason for the choice of the day most probably was that it fell upon an existing pagan festival. This was man’s choice, not God’s.
Christians must have authority from God for all acts of worship or work: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col 3:17).
Christmas is a great holiday, but from a scriptural standpoint there is no basis to celebrate it as the birthday of Christ. The warning of Matthew 15:9 should be considered.
Yes, I’m trying to understand why man is so confused about Christ’s birthday. I personally am uneasy when someone wishes me a “merry Christmas” because I know it is not Christ’s birthday and do not want to indicate that I think it is. I would prefer a “happy holiday” because that is the way I celebrate it, and I can return the greeting with those words. I cannot wish anyone a “merry Christ-mass”, which is the meaning of the word.
However, when man confuses the issue, not because it is not Christ’s birthday but to take another step in eliminating references to God and Christ from our society, I must oppose their position. It is simply foolish and based upon the wrong reasons, not scripture.
What words are appropriate? I guess, after applying the scriptures, you must decide for yourself. But I urge you to remember that the day of Christmas is based upon the doctrine of men, and the greeting argument is an effort to eliminate religious terms from our society. Choose your words carefully.