‘Merry Christmas’: A bold statement

Published 5:33 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2011

By Jake McCall

Our family Christmas cards came in this week, and as I opened them I noticed that under our picture, our cards say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

My sweet wife designed these cards on a website, and the first thing I wanted to know was why did we choose the anti-Christmas, anti-Christian phrase. She explained that she didn’t have a choice and that the website wouldn’t let her choose “Merry Christmas” and she had already spent all that time putting the pictures in and she had to get the cards finished so she could get them mailed out before Christmas. I understood. Therefore, if you get a card from our family in the next few days, it will say something that I need to apologize for because “Happy Holidays” is a generic greeting that has no meaning. Am I wishing everyone a happy holiday for every holiday in the year? Did you know that Jan. 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day? I bet you didn’t know that May 1 is the official Mother Goose Day. I hope that on Nov. 23 of next year I will remember to eat a cranberry on Eat a Cranberry Day.

This year, our electronic Christmas card designer wouldn’t allow us to wish our family and friends Merry Christmas. Instead it lumped Christmas in with appreciating squirrels and cranberries.
You may think I am going overboard with my rant, but let me say that anyone is welcome to say “Happy Holidays” and I will smile and say thank you. But that phrase is not a polite way to say “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” It’s just an attempt at saying that holidays are fun and should make us happy but a holiday celebrating Christ should not be more important than any others. As a matter of fact, cards like ours should come with a disclaimer that says: “We want to continue getting time off work and days off school, and we love the fact that we are able to make huge profits off this holiday but we certainly don’t intend to let it have anything to do with Christ.”

If we don’t say Christmas out loud, we lessen our chance at having to deal with its meaning. So for those of you who do love Christmas and do still choose “Merry Christmas” to be your form of greeting during the month of December, remember that you are making a bold claim. Because you are saying that Jesus Christ came to this world to rescue a dying and lost people and without Him, we are hopeless and have nothing to be truly happy about and absolutely nothing to celebrate. Christmas says that Jesus is King above all other kings and that his people come under his glorious rule. That bold meaning can cause people to hesitate and come up with a new greeting, but through all of the stress that this season can bring, that gives me reason to celebrate and worship. I hope it does you the same.

By the way, if you have not decided what you are doing Christmas Eve, I would love to invite you to our Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m. at Grace Fellowship Church. It may be the beginning of a new Christmas tradition.

Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor of Grace Fellowship in Clanton.