SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 2, 2013

Letter: In defense of Christmas

To the editor:

Someone recently asked me if I say “Merry Christmas” to people or “Happy Holidays.” She also asked if I am offended when someone wishes me a “Merry Christmas.” My knee-jerk response is, “As a Christian pastor, it would seem rather strange if I was offended by someone wishing me a Merry Christmas, no?”

I often say Merry Christmas, because that is the holiday I celebrate — and I mean no offense to anyone when I say it. I also say Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. Many of them say Merry Christmas to me. (We are big boys and girls. We can take it.)

Here is my problem with “Happy Holidays.” The term is too generic. It is meaningless. Why don’t we say “Happy Holidays” in the early fall? Between the first Monday in September and Nov. 11, we celebrate three holidays: Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day (respectively). Those are holidays.

Dec. 25 is Christmas Day whether you are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or an atheist, just as the Fourth of July is the celebration of America’s Independence whether you are American, British, Yugoslavian or an anarchist who lives in a log cabin in the hinterlands. Who you are, what you do and what you believe does not change the calendar, as self-important as you may be.

Secular materialism has hijacked Christmas, turning it into an opportunity for Macy’s, Target, and Wal-Mart to meet their fourth-quarter projections. They do not want to offend anyone. (That will cost them millions of dollars!) Therefore, corporate consumerism has turned the entire season into “holidays” so that everyone can buy gifts for anyone.

The season used to start the day after Thanksgiving. Now it begins around Halloween, when Starbucks breaks out its red-and-white Christmas (I mean “holiday”) cups and L.L. Bean sends its “buy our clothes and boots for everyone you know because it is that time of year” catalog. It doesn’t matter what you believe. Let’s not exclude anyone, so let’s rename a sacred holy day on the Christian calendar to be an all-inclusive, capitalistic opportunity. “In God we trust!” (Isn’t it funny how even atheists carry pieces of paper in their wallet with that slogan printed on it, but they are not offended by doing so?)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Today in History August 21 Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium