Instead of Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings, or whatever other linguistic bend and twist I’ve made during this time over the last several years, I’m turning over an “old” leaf (yes I meant “old”) this year. I’m going back to my roots and shrugging my shoulders with a big “What the heck” – politically correct or not, this year’s greeting from me will be “Have a Merry Christmas”. I’ll say it when I write a card, when I answer the phone and even as a friendly greeting to a passerby. I’m not trying to be offensive given this behavior is now defined as being “politically incorrect”. I’m just not giving much weight to this notion that it might be offensive to someone if they are greeted with “Merry Christmas”.
I know I’m not the only one who thinks this politically incorrect label is absurd. And I’m sure there are many who have been bold enough, much sooner than I, to choose to offer well wishes during the season with a Merry Christmas. Or even more defiantly have never transitioned out of the habit. I’m really starting to question the reasoning behind this “politically incorrect” labeling. Especially, given its usage is always intended to offer some warmth and best wishes.
I do understand the politically correct argument (at least I think I do). However, I newly believe that this notion has been given too much thought and attention. I’m willing to wager than many people who’ve used and continue to use the phrase “Merry Christmas” simply mean just that – “Have yourself a happy holiday season”. Christmas has been so commercialized for so long that unfortunately its true meaning (celebrating the birth of Christ) has been long lost on most. I do go to church and consider myself a Christian (although my church attendance might suggest otherwise). But even when I say Merry Christmas I’m not attaching much religious meaning. I’m including a disclaimer about that last point – if my pastor happens to read this article – I take back that statement.
In my opinion, a “Merry Christmas” greeting simply supports a traditional way of wishing someone well. I’m sure most who receive it, usually don’t interpret it as anything more. And I’m certain using it does not discount or devalue any other religion, culture, or tradition. There’s lots of room for religious and cultural diversity in this country.
This very basic and well-intended friendly greeting should never get retired. It’s a simple greeting that helps to bring us together during a season of over-indulgence, haste, stress, emotional wear, and much more. So, I say we just lighten up and go brighten up someone’s smile this season with a “Merry Christmas” greeting.
P.S. This is a time of year that can be very difficult emotionally (and financially) for many, please be on the lookout for more than just a great deal this season – keep your eyes and hearts open for those in need and offer a hand. You can share some Christmas love by inviting someone who’s alone to join in your festivity, share a meal, give a gift to someone not on your list and you even can give one of the most affordable yet priceless gifts of all…a hug.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
This article is intended to reflect my opinion only and not that of my church or its leadership – although I’m sure none of St. Paul’s members would argue differently (again that’s just MY opinion).