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“HAPPY HOLIDAYS” OR “MERRY CHRISTMAS”

December 20, 2005

The battle over whether to say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” continues. It would appear that the threat of boycott has begun to turn the tide and many retailers are now bowing to the wishes of those who threaten to spend their money somewhere else. This whole debate has been a tough one for me. I don’t like the direction our country is taking away from God, and this debate seems to bring to light just another step in the wrong direction. At the same time I really have a problem with holding a gun to someone’s head to get them to parrot what I want them to say. When I was a child if my dad told me to sit down, I would do it for fear of punishment, but I was still standing up on the inside.

Wade Hodges, minister for the Garnet Road Church of Christ in Tusla, OK , wrote the following in Blog on 12/15/05, “So Christians are boycotting certain businesses depending on what kind of signs they have hanging out in front of their stores. A boycott has always been an effective means of applying pressure to those who won’t say what we want them to about our God. Didn’t the Romans use it against the Christian and Jewish merchants who refused to hang a banner in front of their store that said, “Caesar is Lord.”

A part of the reason for my confusion over this issue has to do with being raised in the church. For years I was taught that the 25th of December was not the birthday of Jesus. When other religious groups would lament the commercialization of Christmas, we had no problem with it. It wasn’t His birthday anyway. Now we have adopted the position that we will join with the religious world in the celebration, even if it isn’t most likely His birthday. I readily admit I am more comfortable with the latter. But what makes me uncomfortable is Christians requiring that the secular world use their terminology. Merchants with a profit motive will say just about anything to get our business. Like me as a child, they may sit when we tell them too, but they will still be standing on the inside.

My concern in this whole debate is not “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”, but the perception the world we are trying to reach for Christ will have of us after the dust settles from all the protests. How will what we say now affect the attitude people will have toward us, and how will that affect our ability to speak to them about the Lord.? Regardless of how we feel about the issue I would hope that we would follow the wisdom of the Apostle Paul in his words in Col. 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

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One comment

  1. Lee,
    So well thought out and wisely spoken. Thank you for saying what I’ve wanted to say and couldn’t figure out how to say it without fear that others would think that I wasn’t “standing up” for Christ.
    Julie Creasy



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