Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I’ve got some history with this debate–Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays–because I was a government employee once. But, I’ll get to that later. For now, let me say, I don’t take offense at Happy Holidays.

Here’s why.

As a Christian, I desire for those who don’t know Jesus, to know him. I don’t have time, and I mean that quite literally, to debate who gets to say what. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37). I want to be his worker. In my career of horticulture, we gotta be ready for the harvest. Time is short and workers need to be focused. If you stand around talking while everyone else is harvesting, well then, not only are you out of a job, but people really don’t like you.

Jesus standing around debating Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays when people were clamoring for him with hearts and bodies breaking? I just don’t see it.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidats Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

 

Yes, I realize the whole slippery slope of our nation dissolving into a country that derides Christians and eventually persecutes us and possibly kills us, which is where this conversation inevitably leads with other Christians. Many right-leaning Christians believe the liberal left would like all Christians dead or at least silenced. Happy Holidays is that supposed cliff-hanger. But, slow down here. I grew up in an era when Christians worked hard at shutting up the rest of the world, and I’m guessing if you’re gay or any other “other” you’ve been silenced by a few of us. So, there’s that.

For me, it boils down to this. I don’t want one single soul lost to the Gospel. If Happy Holidays opens up the possibility of common ground and a relationship between myself and that soul, then Happy Holidays it is.

The question I pose to myself is this: Is Merry Christmas the only witness I give? Am I advocating for it, then not bothering to tell anyone the Good News of the baby born in a manager? Am I shouting Merry Christmas while not shouting “He is Risen?” Do I bow my head to pray in a restaurant so all can see, while never getting on my knees at home to pray for the lost?

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

Jesus promised us that if the world hated him, they’d hate us, too. We aren’t going to escape that whether we win the argument of Merry Christmas or not. I’m not suggesting that as American citizens we give up our rights and suffer for the sake of suffering. Paul gives us an example in Scripture of claiming his rights as a Roman citizen and demanding he be treated accordingly. Agreed on all counts. As an American, I have certain rights and I believe wholeheartedly that I should not be short-changed in this regard. Freedom of speech is first in my book. But, what I reflect on is this.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Do I want to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays so I can be right? Is it more important to me to maintain my religious liberties than it is to witness to others about Jesus? That same Roman citizen, Paul, died witnessing to what he knew about Christ.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Back to my government story. My director was the man who issued the decree to start saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. (He firmly believed in the separation of church and state.) He was also one of the people that led me to Christ. His quiet demeanor and devotion to Christ, his willingness to make hard decisions, his loyalty to staff, his love of Western North Carolina and our country, made an impact on a girl right out of college in her first professional job. A girl who didn’t care a hoot who said what at Christmas so long as she had PTO.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

He was a worker in Christ’s kingdom-harvest in a field of non-believers (myself a non-believer at the time), and his influence was great.

The seed comes first and then the harvest. He planted a seed of Christ in my heart, all while saying Happy Holidays. I am grateful. I hope to follow his example and do the same.

Please join the conversation!