I’d like to get ahead of this issue before its ugly head resurfaces. Thus, a Christmas post in October. All apologies.
Regarding the Now-Annual Christmas Greetings Controversy:
Please do not reduce the sanctity of celebration honoring the birth of your Savior to bitter admonishments about a phrase used at Christmas. Don’t contribute ammo to this perceived war on Christmas.
Dad and I are raising you with what are termed “Judeo-Christian values.” Place God first in your life, Love Him above all. Demonstrate kindness, the kind Jesus showed to others. Don’t steal or cheat or throw baseballs on the roof or wallop on your brother with a stick. Do not scam Boy Three out of his Halloween candy. Respect authority unless asked to do something wrong, knowing full well that “wrong” does not mean having to put your clothes in the hamper rather than on the ceiling fan. Be good to strangers and love your enemies—but for the love of all that his holy and good don’t get in a car with either.
Be particularly good to those who are in need and who are without family and who grieve: orphans and widows and that classmate at school who gets teased and with whom no one is hanging out at recess.
The celebration of Christmas is coming. I know this because we have pumpkins on our front porch today and the country you live in wants you to spend, spend, spend Christmas cash and rack up credit interest as early as you can and if that means October (or July) then so be it. I know because tweets on my phone and papers in the mailbox are counting shopping weekends until Christmas. I know because garlands of mistletoe and evergreen line store aisle shelves, waiting their turn to move up front and overtake scarecrows and orange garlands made of fake leaves. I know Christmas is coming because I am already reciting and repeating out loud the boundaries I will have to apply upon my time come Advent.
I also know it’s about to be Christmas because I already saw a snippet on social media about seasonal greetings. People have been up in arms in recent years about this. Recently, there was a made-up furor (that turned into real furor) about the seasonal images and text that show up on coffee cups.
The ONLY thing you need to know about coffee right now is that you should please, please let your mom finish hers.
Of course, you will make Christmas lists and help Daddy decorate the tree and wait FOREVER AND A DAY for the sausage balls to come out of the oven. You will look forward to a break from school. I will, too. Mostly. Lord willing, we will celebrate with family and hope for snow, but not the kind that makes driving dangerous.
And that is all fine. It is all secular, so to speak, but it is permissible. You celebrate Fridays and the Fourth of July: those are secular holidays and they are ok to enjoy, just as it is ok to put ornaments on a tree and enjoy apple cider and hot chocolate.
Please do not get wrapped tight in a big, glittery, oversized Christmas bow and suffocate yourself and the world around you with legalism over greetings during the holidays.
Our family will honor the remembrance with reminders during the month of Advent about the Savior who came and upon whom our faith is based. Of course, we don’t celebrate only during December; We honor Him (or hope to) every day with prayers and verses and praises and gratitude. We celebrate him when worshipping with our church family twice a week in honorable and official gathering. We celebrate Him when we apply His teachings to our daily lives and help out others.
I lean on Him for grace to feed you and supervise you as you sweep the kitchen floor and complete math homework and play in the woods where poisonous snakes slither and roam.
“Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” are phrases the society and country in which you live say. I want you to know both phrases are on an equal playing field.
(They are not, however, on the same playing field with phrases like, “He got more presents than I did,” or “That is a stupid thing to put on your Christmas list.”)
The wording of the season’s common greetings is amoral, in a sense, other than the fact that either phrase can communicate kindness and goodwill, Godspeed, hope. Unfortunately, some choose to take offense at one phrase or another. Don’t be like that.
Though it appears both phrases have been used for a long, long time. (centuries, even), it appears neither phrase was spoken during Jesus’ life while here on earth.
Rise above. Push and pray away crazy inclinations and be good and humble stewards of Christ to others rather than grandiose stewards of things that reflect poorly your faith.
Now, go and donate your fidget spinners to less fortunate children.
All my love,
Thank you. I’m glad to get it off my chest. 🙂
Oh friend, I love this and I love you!
I ran across a decades-old Christmas card the other day (from the 1970s, maybe?), and it had Seasons Greetings on the front. I don’t recall anyone getting all bent out of shape over it.
Your words are the best ones I’ve read on this subject. Gonna share the heck out of it.
You are a gem, my friend.
Thanks so much, Suzy!