When somebody wishes someone Merry Christmas it warms my heart.
When somebody wishes someone Happy Holidays, equally so, it’s a warmer. This expression feels all-inclusive, covering all of the winter holidays. I’m a Jewish believer in Jesus. Both Hanukkah and Christmas have meaning to me. God is in the center of both. So when I receive this sentiment I think how sensitive that person is to perhaps consider my traditions and wish me a Happy Holidays or even a Happy Hanukkah.
When somebody insists that the only way to offer seasons greetings is by Merry Christmas, implying that Jesus is the reason for the season and Happy Holidays is somehow void of Christ, it feels obnoxious.
When I observe how the culture in which I live celebrates Christ’s birth, I often get the impression this isn’t at all what Jesus had in mind. The decorating of trees with tinsel, materialistic gift giving and spending have pagan roots. Historically, Jesus wasn’t even born during this season. Whereas Happy Holidays evolved from “Holy Day,” a term that I find is a rather nice one.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to celebrate in customs we’re used to, or that we can’t find spiritual meaning behind it. But to imply that we’re missing Christ in the mas if we don’t wish people the segregated phrase, Merry Christmas, strikes me as a forceful tactic and one that’s not very compelling. Jesus is either a part of what we do or he’s not. It begs the question: What would he
On that note, I wish you Happy Holidays! May you and yours be blessed beyond measure this season and forevermore!
I grew up observing both Chanukah and Christmas. Both are important in my life. So, as the Jewish Festival of Lights begins, by family tradition I like to absorb a poem written by Hanna Szenes (Senesh). It was her last, actually, penned in Yugoslavia, May 1944. The meditation of it deepens the experience for me, readies my heart for the significance of one of God’s great miracles…and of the sacredness of life.
“Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.
Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.”