A War on Christmas?

Dear Dwonna:

What do you think about those people who insist that there is a “War on Christmas” and that we should be saying “Merry CHRISTmas” and not “Happy Holidays”?


Put Christ Back in Christmas?


Dear “Put Christ Back in Christmas”:

I recently got into a Facebook “spat” with a woman I went to elementary school with over this very issue, and a former student accused me of condemning all Christians for the meme that appears at the bottom of this answer. After posting an article allegedly by Ben Stein that lambasted President Obama’s for changing the name of the White House Christmas tree to the White House Holiday Tree, I posted a link from Snopes.com that explained that Ben Stein never wrote this article and that this hoopla over the name change was kind of made up. My grade school friend then told me it was only because of “political correctness” that people were saying “Happy holidays.” “It should be Merry CHRISTmas,” she wrote.

While many people profess to be Christians and argue that this is a “Christian nation” that was founded on “Christian values”—never mind that many of the Founding Fathers were deists—too many Americans do not behave in a “Christ-like” manner. Leading the charge to cut food stamps, judging the poor rather than helping them, and vehemently fighting against the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) does not seem very Christ-like to me. I’m no Biblical scholar, but I do know that the Bible contains many passages about helping the sick and the poor. For example, Deuteronomy 15:10 reads: “Give generously to [them] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.” Proverbs 14:31 says, in part: “[W]hoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

Yes, there are toy drives and canned food drives and angel trees to help the needy during this holiday season, yet for many, the Christmas season is now a commodity—a time to give friends and family gifts we probably cannot afford and that they won’t even remember they have in two weeks. Thus, it is a bit disingenuous to argue about whether we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” If we really want to continue this “War on Christmas,” then we should focus not on whether we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” to each other but on how we treat each other each and every day of the year. The Christmas/holiday season should be about kindness, charity, love, and good will towards one another and not about what we call it.

%22Put Christ Back....%22

One thought on “A War on Christmas?

  1. Well written. However, the issue isn’t a “war on CHRISTmas”–it’s an “amnesia about Advent.”

    Advent is observed for the four weeks before Christmas. This is a period of waiting, reflection, and preparation–its theme song is the simple, somber “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” Christians around the world observe Advent variously by fasting, lighting candles each Sunday, and Bible readings. Christmas, of “Merry Christmas” fame, starts on the 25th of December and lasts until either the 5th of 6th day of January — hence the “12 Days of Christmas.”

    Advent, unfortunately, isn’t as sexy as the latest Mariah Carey or Justin Bieber Christmas hit forming the backdrop on Fox News or CNN. The drama of Rush Limbaugh complaining about “Merry CHRISTmas” (many weeks before the actual start of Christmas, see above) makes for a great circus act, but really misses the mark. Don’t get me wrong–I’m no Grinch about Christmas–but when a Christian friend starts on a “Merry CHRISTmas” rant and it’s still early December, run, don’t walk.

    To quote someone I know, “that’s ridiculous.”

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