Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Here we are once more! That time of the year we’ve all come to know and expect every year. No, not the one of Peace, Love, and Goodwill part. I’m talking about the one where we seem to forget the “Good Tidings” part.

Every year, I hear person after person talking about how offended they are whenever people say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

(Here are my thoughts, just my thoughts and you might or might not agree on this highly-charged topic, but here goes…)

What’s the purpose of saying Merry Christmas? It’s a wish for you to give someone else – wishing them a gift for the best, most meaningful holiday possible (Some might even say, the “Happiest of Holidays).  So, what is the purpose of wishing someone Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, Good Solstice or yes, even the dreaded Happy Holidays? It’s the same thing! It is a way possibly to wrap all the Holiday festivities, traditions, sometimes faiths, and the Season into one greeting.

I’m not Jewish but if a Jewish friend says “Happy Hanukkah Gregg,” I’m not going to be offended because I celebrate Christmas. Likewise, if I say Merry Christmas to a non-Christian friend of mine, I don’t expect them to be upset by it. It was said with love.

Look, I understand! Christmas is out of hand! It has been since Coke came up with that cheerful Santa to sell more drinks. We always talk about the need to remember the true spirit of the season. Well great! I’m all for that! Then, let’s not forget Peace, Love, Understanding, Hope, Brotherhood and Good Tidings strengthen the bond between our fellow-man.
Isn’t that what wishing someone Hope, Love, Joy, Brotherhood is all about?

Each and every day, we all use different words to describe the same or similar things in our lives.

It’s the same meaning but in different words. If someone wished you a good Christmas in Russian or Turkish or Chinese, would that offend you? Probably not.

If you truly want to use the term Merry Christmas, GREAT! For many of us, it holds so much meaning and history. My guess is if someone you meet says “Happy Holidays” to you, my hope is that they wouldn’t be offended if you say Merry Christmas back to them. (Even if they’re a different faith than you). The meaning behind the words is much more than talking about a celebration. It’s a set of principles about how we live our lives and how we treat others – all set in motion those many years ago.

Look, I don’t want you to compromise your faith or debate the zest you have for it. But I would like for you to at least consider some of the things I’ve talked about here.

So many wars have been fought over and between religions. Many wars continue to be fought on those lines today. Don’t you think it might be a good idea to take a breath, understand where the other person might be “coming from” when they say “Happy Holidays” (Even if this is not what you’d say)? Then continue being the kind of person you constantly are striving to be when you answer them back “Merry Christmas” with an honest and true smile.

I’m not attacking your right to say or feel in anyway. So many people call this the Season of Love. I’m asking to tap into some of that love and look behind the words and feel the message coming from them. Whatever greeting you choose, I just hope it’s one that is ushered out alongside your Love, Kindness and Wonder. Use the 5 seconds it will take to actually make it “Good Tidings”

 

Peace

 

Gregg

 

 

 

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