Merry Christmas and the Christmas Wars

I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Christmas wars” or the public debate on whether people should say “Merry Christmas” or some non-Christ greeting like happy holidays or seasons greetings or something. I found two interesting articles on this:

“A Conscientious Objector in the Christmas Wars” by Warren Cole Smith

There is a rebuttal to his piece “Going AWOL in the War on Christmas”  by Mickey McLean

Mclean does not address Smith’s specific points very well, seeming to simply talk about how good it is to celibrate Christmas, which I concur with. But I generally agree with Smith on this one. Particularly, I do not understand why so many Christians expect unbelievers to say “Merry CHRISTmas” when they do not believe in Christ. They may respond that Christmas is about Christ, and we must represent him by saying the phrase and insisting others do the same.

I’m sorry, but saying “Merry Christmas” isn’t the gospel; it takes more words than that to explain it. Secondly, forcing a nonbeliever to say Merry Christmas makes you come across as a weird religious person instead of a Christ-loving disciple. That is the real thing that bothers me about this debate – many Christians who advocate everyone saying “Merry Christmas” are often, as Smith puts it, shrill. I see situations where Mr. Christian takes offense when someone tells them happy holidays and correct them with a merry Christmas, or ask to speak to the manager, or promise to never shop there again; meanwhile the holiday well-wisher wishes they left the friendly greeting to someone more friendly. This makes Christians seen as mean, rude, and unfriendly. Jesus charged to his disciples before He died that people will know they are his disciples by their love (John 13:35). When we lack this, we are not acting like disciples of Jesus, making us failures in our representation of Jesus .

I’m all for Christmas celebration, and all for Christ. That is why we should abandon this silly debate. If we respond to all people with love and graciousness, we will have more opportunity to share the full gospel of Christ to someone willing to hear it.

I will greet others with a “Merry Christmas.” But if someone cheerfully greets me with “Happy Holidays” I hope to thank them in the love of Christ, and pray they come to know Who they unknowingly celebrate. Perhaps the Sovereign God will allow me an opportunity to share with them there, or meet them again later, and talk about the incarnation of God into humanity to save us for eternity, if only we believe in him.


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