I have seen some posts lately about the way Christmas itself is treated as a holiday. Some say it should be nothing but a “Christmas” tree, and not be called a “Holiday” tree. Some say it HAS to be “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays”
I personally will say Merry Christmas and have a Christmas tree. But…I am not going to try and “hijack” Christmas as being just for Christians. All kinds of people celebrate Christmas this time of year. I don’t believe that I should tell someone who is a Jew, or a Muslim, Atheist, or any other group who does not believe in Christ that they should NOT celebrate this time of the year.
A lot of the symbolism that goes with what we call Christmas, does not even come from Christianity. Back in the Middle ages, a lot of “Christian” holidays were placed on dates when other pagan religions had celebrations of one type or another. Their logic was to assimilate the pagans into Christianity by “mixing” bits and pieces of some of their celebrations with some Christian celebrations. A lot of the customs that we associate with Christmas were secular to begin with..or even pagan in origin.
Charles Dickens had a lot to do with how we now celebrate Christmas. The holiday itself seemed to be dying in early Victorian England until Dickens wrote his wildly popular book, “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, right before Christmas. Much of what we think of as a standard Christmas comes from that novel. If you’ve never read it, you need to. I’m sure everyone has seen the movie in one version of another. Dickens was definitely the “man who saved Christmas”
A lot of what many Christians see as being a part of Christmas…the “Santa” part, has certainly been secularized.
Also, just think back to all the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” ads you have heard during the past week. Sometimes it feels like Lucy was right in “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” that Christmas was controlled by “a big syndicate back East” may not be too far wrong nowadays.
I think that instead of caring so much about whether people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” we should not “swat at knats while swallowing camels”
We ought to be examples, by word and by deed, of how we should truly be: friends to all of our fellow man. Feed the poor. Clothe the naked. Give to those who have less than we have. Do it without qualification. Quit worrying about whether or not people “deserve” your giving. Quit worrying about whether or not what you give will be “misused”. If you are truly selfless in your giving, then you will receive your reward no matter what happens afterward. The joy will be in the giving.
Then, perhaps things will be as Tiny Tim said in the book, and “God will bless us….every one”.