Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why "Happy Holidays" Does Not Offend Me

This morning I was talking to a colleague about our holiday plans which included both Christmas and New Year's activities. As we left, he said sweetly, "Happy Holidays." I returned the greeting with a heartfelt, "Happy Holidays." The simple exchange made me remember a Facebook conversation that a few of my friends started last week.  They were angry that someone said, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." I thought about them this morning after I said the seasonal greeting because, as a Christian, the saying did not offend me.

As I read their banter last week about how they would strongly return any "Happy Holidays" saying with a stern "Merry Christmas" I understood their defense of the Christian holiday. As a devout Christian myself, I wondered if I should do the same. This morning I realized the answer is no. While the word "Xmas" greatly offends me because it is the deliberate removal of the word Christ, I don't feel that a person who uses "Happy Holidays" necessarily intends to remove Christ from the season.

I think the phrase is most commonly used when wishing happy greetings for an entire season. When discussing holiday plans one is usually discussing New Year's festivities as well therefore it just isn't Christmas but an entire holiday season that is included when saying "Happy Holidays." Secondly, not everyone celebrates Christmas but this doesn't threaten my Christian beliefs nor does it make me feel like I should return their saying with a hostile stare as I say, "It's MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Doesn't that hostility defeat the whole point of the giving and peaceful spirit we celebrate this time of year?  Even if the person does celebrate Christmas but offers the phrase out of respect because they don't know if you celebrate the holiday, don't assume it's a sign of disrespect. Instead of anger, be thankful for the consideration. Further, as I walked away from my colleague after exchanging the holiday saying I wondered what would Jesus say since, after all, it is His holiday. I think He would not take offense to a simple saying but instead offer kindness, understanding and love demonstrating the Christian spirit we all aim to reflect.

I hope other Christians can see that in the spirit of Christmas, next time a person offers a kind greeting be generous of spirit and return the kindness. After all, not everyone has a political agenda behind a greeting. Sometimes life is simple and a greeting is just a greeting.  Happy Holidays can simply mean have a wonderful holiday season!  Happy Holidays to you and yours!

No comments:

Post a Comment