I posted this on my site recently, and I thought I would share this here and maybe see what the community might be able to add.
With the approach of the holiday season, I’m already hearing the “Keep Christ in Christmas” mantra and the indignant outcries that the big name retail chains are sullying the season by wishing patrons a “Happy Holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas”.
It’s my thought that people should really just get over this, both in the battle for keeping “Christ in Christmas” and the overall idea that Christianity is being banished from popular culture. Looking back through history, it is quite clear that the origin of Christmas was not Christ at all!
Yes, some retail chains have moved from saying “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” to be more inclusive of their patrons, especially in the more urban areas. Rather than thinking that this is a horrible thing that marks the downfall of the country, I feel that it is a positive indication of how diverse this country is, and has been throughout history.
As President-Elect Obama stated in a speech a couple years back:
"Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
I do not feel that we should exclude people based on their beliefs. Accordingly, I do not feel that those who hold beliefs should exclude those who do not share those beliefs, or use invasive measures to force others to participate or actively observe their ideas, beliefs or practices. This is the nature of our freedom of religion - the right to freedom from religion. Those who say “Happy Holidays” aren’t excluding the ones with Christian beliefs, but rather, are attempting to include those who might not share those beliefs.
Here is my recommendation: When someone, either at a store or elsewhere, wishes you a Happy Holiday this season, simply smile and nod, and remember within yourself what that means to you. It could mean your Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, or perhaps even a Joyful Kwanzaa. Maybe, as for me, it has no religious connotation at all, but is simply a time to share with your family.
Regardless of its meaning for you, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season!