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    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Tuesday Talkback

    It isn't Thanksgiving yet, but here is a winter holiday Monday moan:

    "Now that many stores are going to be wishing us Merry Christmas, how do I respond if Christmas isn't my holiday?" - Beachwood

    Now, I suppose you have heard that some stores, like WalMart, have backed away from wishing people the more inclusive "Happy Holidays" and are once again wishing people "Merry Christmas."

    Part of me thinks that conceptually, the message of Christmas carries meanings that transcend the religious. The spirit of good tidings and cheer associated with Christmas can be separate from the religious underpinnings. I gag at those revolting billboards that read "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," as the early church selected the time of the winter solstice to celebrate Christmas because the pagans were already celebrating at that time. Converting to Christianity did not have to mean giving up your winter holiday festivities.

    But the thing is, lots of people don't see it that way. Lots of people, Christians and non-Christians alike, see Christmas as only a religious holiday. Thus, some Christians take offense to the idea (like I suggested above) that non-believers can share in the good tidings and cheer associated with Christmas without accepting Jesus as their personal savior (or something to that effect). Likewise, some non-believers, like this Monday Moaner above, are at a loss. They don't celebrate it in any form, and don't care to be wished a Merry Christmas.

    The fact that some stores have backed away from the more pluralistic "Happy Holidays" is a bit sad then, in considering that. It seems when you speak with the people who were most upset with the so-called "War on Christmas," they wanted stores to switch back to wishing people a Merry Christmas because that is, as far as they are concerned, the true holiday of the season. That they want the message of Christ to remain in the forefront. That they want the holiday season to be more exclusive and less inclusive. It is as if they don't want you celebrating Christmas unless you subscribe to their view of Christ.

    I respectfully suggest that if a store decides to cater to those people by now wishing all of their customers a Merry Christmas instead of a Happy Holiday, then let those people shop at those stores, and you who take offense at the suggestion, you should take your money elsewhere. That is what I would do. You need not say anything back, though you certainly can -- and knowing me, I would. But that is what the stores respond to: the bottom line. And Christians aren't the only ones who shop.


    Comments on "Tuesday Talkback"


    Blogger Kristen said ... (8:35 AM, November 21, 2006) : 

    I think it would be funny to get into a polite fight with the cashier.

    Cashier: "Merry Christmas!"
    Me: "Happy HOLIDAYS!"
    Cashier: "That's what I said, Merry Christmas!"
    Me:"Happy Holidays mutherfucker!"

    yeah, its not working but you get my point.


    Blogger Gina Ventre said ... (9:20 AM, November 21, 2006) : 

    I somewhat agree that the idea of Christmas transcends religous beliefs but there is also the argument that Christmas has moved away from religion and more into the realm of consumerism...good tidings and cheer and credit card bills and lining up at 6am on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This is why taking business elsewhere will work.

    Best Christmas discussion ever heard by me:

    Prof: What are you so happy about?
    Boss: It's almost Christmas
    Prof: (blank look on his face)
    Boss: It's the birth of our Lord and Savior!
    Prof: Not everyone's Lord.


    Blogger melcarrel said ... (9:28 PM, November 21, 2006) : 

    While I am a Christian, and am glad to see people being wished a "Merry Christmas" because of my beliefs, I do not agree that ALL people want that switch just because of the message of Christ. It's also a matter of tradition. Christmas has a long secular history too. Look at the classic Scrooge story. There is no nativity in that. Yet, it speaks of general good will toward men. I would hope that if anything, people would keep that in mind. Somehow finding a feeling of peace, hope, love, and good will toward others during the season is what the wish of "Merry Christmas" should then represent toward others. And while "Happy Holidays" is a cheerful greeting, it is not as well known in tradition as "Merry Christmas".

    And I'm sorry the billboards make you gag. I would like to think that Christians are easy going enough to adapt to others bullheadedness to try to open people's minds to the teachings.


    Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:40 AM, November 22, 2006) : 

    Now this is an issue that I just do not understand (sorry to take the "Kristen" view on this). I work with Jewish people. I work for a Jewish man. In fact, nearly everywhere I go in this city, I see Jewish people. I do not understand why they get so offended when I wish them a "Merry Christmas." I mean...they are the ones who killed my savior, not the other way around! I am willing to let bygones be bygones. Geez.


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