By: Dennis Bates
Happy Holidays is just the latest reason I don’t like Christmas as much as I used to.
I am not a shopper and I feel no obligation to elbow my way through zombie faced crowds to spend money on presents that most people I know don’t need and probably won’t use. But I can get over that. Maybe.
I am also not naïve. I know that our secular society co-opted Christmas long ago, maybe even from the very beginning when the early church set the December date to celebrate a birth that probably occurred in the spring. There were practical considerations even then that made December 25 a more desirable date. It helped the church celebration over shadow several pagan ceremonies and festivals that occurred then.
Many of the current traditions such as decorating and even gift giving have roots in the pagan customs, and I really don’t have all that much trouble enjoying many of them. My mother used to bake dozens of different cookies every year and I am almost positive that the manger the Christ Child slept in didn’t smell like ginger bread. That doesn’t make the memory of ginger bread cookies any less delightful.
But my mother’s cookie baking didn’t set out to obfuscate the baby who was Christ the Lord either. Nor did any of the other family traditions I grew up with. They were what they were. A time to enjoy and remember family, a family that always went to church together and always put out a manger scene to give honor the God who sustained us.
Every Christmas season since the first one I can remember, has seen a lessening of the importance of the manger. As a Baby Boomer I still remember singing both secular and religious songs at our school Christmas programs. The memories I have of illuminated public manger scenes and lines of cars waiting to drive by them still give me good feelings. After all Christians pay taxes too. Why aren’t they entitled to use some of the tax money, not to force anybody to accept their beliefs, but to simply so all taxpayers can recognize them and enjoy them?
Years of Secular attack and, frankly, Christian apathy have all but eliminated many things that nobody thought anything of 40 years ago. And scores of erroneous Supreme Court interpretations of the First Amendment have provided air cover. The Supreme Court has been and still is just plain wrong, going out of its way to misinterpret an Amendment that was never designed to destroy what it has been used to obliterate.
And now we have the almost universal mandate, almost governmental in nature, to change the greetings of the season to “Happy Holidays” because “Merry Christmas” may offend non Christians. I’m sorry, that is just plain silly at best. Christ’s Mass, one of the origins of the word Christmas had nothing to do with holidays, happy or otherwise. It had to do with the celebration of a child that came to save all mankind, including those who are just too blind to see it.
I will not change my greeting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so: