First of all, let me start by saying, MERRY CHRISTMAS. It’s that simple for me. If you are Jewish, Happy Hanukkah. If you celebrate Kwanzaa, then Happy Kwanza. (For the record, Kwanzaa was created to bring the African American community together in 1966 after the Watts riots.) Let’s not forget Saturnalia – an ancient Roman festival honoring the deity known as Saturn. It was originally held on December 17th and later, because the partying didn’t seem to want to stop, they pushed it out to the 23rd. Pagans celebrate Yule! It marks the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere where the sun appears to be reborn because its hangs out longer. In Japan they celebrate Omisoka. It’s known as the big cleaning. You are to get your house in order and life cleaned up by December 31st. And then there is Boxing Day, mostly celebrated in England. Though it has many explanations, the two most prevalent are that it’s bring your gift back or the day the hired help took off because they had to work Christmas Day.
I almost forgot. To further mock religious people, FESTIVAS was created on Seinfeld as a joke. It was more like Happy Grievance Day. However, some people who were not very religious decided it was a great idea and it is actually celebrated by some today.
Many will say, see Joe you made our point, there are many holidays in December so Happy Holidays is all-inclusive and works great… NOT! Slow down there.
Let’s say I follow your logic. The BUSIEST month for Holidays is February! For all of you who deplore religious affiliation then you better not celebrate Valentine’s Day. You see, Saint Valentine was a Catholic priest. Look it up, you may be surprised. ALONG with Valentine’s Day comes Groundhog Day, Carnival (Brazil), Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Canada’s National Flag Day, Mexico’s Flag Day, Mexico’s Constitution Day and more!
So people, when you take your sweetheart out on SAINT Valentine’s Day please make sure you wish them a non-religious “Happy Holiday” so your logic works all the way through the year.
In dealing with Christmas, MOST Christians understand that Jesus was NOT born on December 25th, and that December 25th was chosen by (what is now referred to as ) the Catholic Church partly to line up with the festivities in Rome to bring more people into the knowledge of Christ.
Christmas was first celebrated by Roman Emperor Constantine in 336 A.D. and later Pope Julius made it official. Nowhere in the holy texts does it call for a tree, stockings, presents, garland, lights, tinsel, and so on. We humans, as we do with everything, had to play with it and make it “better.”
We added all that stuff, credit card debt, more gifts, bigger trees, and, and, and until you choke under the weight of Christmas debt.
We took something so simple, so joyous, so amazing, and made it into a commercial nightmare. If Jesus came to make us free, as Christians believe, then why did we decide to put ourselves in bondage with so much debt? If Jesus was given as the perfect gift, then why do we spend all our hard-earned money looking for that perfect gift for family members? Sorry went preachy. Now back to the story.
Christmas was not celebrated in American at first because it was considered too decadent by the Puritans escaping England. It had gotten out of control in England as far as spending and such and was actually cancelled for a period of time until King Charles II came into power.
Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston but celebrated in Jamestown “without incident” as reported by the settlers. Christmas has had many ups and downs in America since day one, because through the years we forgot what the day was about.
All the traditions we find at Christmas have no real basis in the Bible, except one. The birth of Christ. Celebrating Christmas with the Nativity scene is great! All the other traditions have been brought in by different cultures and groups that added to the original and main meaning of Christmas… the birth of the Christ child.
So when you say what difference does it make to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” to a Christian it should be a big deal! Whether you say it or not, it doesn’t change Christmas, because it’s still about Christ, BUT you take something away from us. It’s Christmas. Without the birth of Christ, it’s just another holiday, gift exchange day, tree day, tinsel day, elf day, fat man in a red suit day. It’s just another day. I’ve got enough “other days.” I want Christmas.
If you’re Jewish, then I will honor you with Happy Hanukkah. If you are one who celebrates Kwanza, then have a Joyous Kwanza, and likewise to the others who celebrate another religious Holy Day.
BUT you can’t have CHRISTmas without CHRIST!
So, Merry Christmas and may you come to know HIM as I have. And no matter what belief system you’ve chosen, may your family be healthy and happy now and in the coming year!