Top 10 Reasons Christians Should Stop Whining About Secular Xmas

“Keep Christ in Christmas!”

“Jesus is the reason for the season!”

“It’s OK to say Merry Christmas!”

I don’t disagree with any of these statements. However, as a PR rep for Jesus, I cringe whenever I see them printed on a sign somewhere. I know we all lament the commercialization of a sacred day; I know that it’s frustrating to see something so meaningful reduced to plastic snowmen and frozen fruitcakes. That said, it’s not worth getting all offended by a ‘season’s greetings’ card, or a ‘winter holiday celebration’ at your kids’ school or your workplace. Here’s why we should stop demanding “our holiday” back:

1. ’Season’s greetings,” refers to that broad expanse of time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Muliple holidays=holiday season. It’s nothing against Jesus, really.

2. Also, Christians are not the only people of faith who celebrate a high holy day around the winter solstice. Christianity is a global faith with a regrettable lack of global awareness. “Happy Holidays” is a simple means of acknowledging that some of our neighbors–even some of our friends and relatives–are also in the midst of living their faith. And let’s face it: the “this is mine” attitude surrounding December 25 feels less like Christmas cheer, and more like Black Friday hoarding. Just sayin…

3. “Xmas” is not a dirty word. In fact, “X” is the Greek letter, Chi–which, in the olden days, was often used as a literary symbol for Christ. So, there you go.

4. Jesus never went around saying “Merry Me-Smas.” While I’m sure he’d appreciate all the to-do around his birthday, he was a pretty humble guy. I think he’d blush and say, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” And you know…when i hear ‘keep Christ in Christmas,” what it sounds like to me is keeping for ourselves. Not the best celebration of God’s love incarnate.

5. Do you really want the public school system to be responsible for your child’s faith formation? No? i didn’t think so. However…when we insist that public schools–funded by state and local tax dollars–speak the language of faith, it is kind of the same thing. (I have similar boundary issues with posting of 10 Commandments and school prayer…post for another day!) Let’s just say, while i think many public school teachers model wonderful values and moral behavior, and many are model Christians, I’d much rather my kids learn to read and do math at school, and get their language of faith from my family and the church of my choosing.

6. We might often feel that the secularization of our favorite holiday has deprived it of all meaning. But on the contrary, Christmas is the time when many who would qualify themselves as ‘non-believers,’ feel a stirring of the spirit that leads them seeking. If we are truly disciples of Jesus, we should celebrate any element of the season that urges people toward the holy.  It may start with the mall or the Hallmark channel, but it often lands them in church. I’ll take it.

7. Speaking of shopping–if you are bothered by all the secular expressions posted around malls and big box stores this season, might i gently suggest that you spend less of your Christmas season at the freakin mall? If you don’t like the signage, spend more time serving the poor, going to worship, getting out in nature, and spending time with the people you love. I’m pretty sure the birthday boy would be all for it.

8. Life is too short to worry so much about what everyone else is saying and doing. Apply this to other areas of life and civilized culture, as well.

9. When you get right down to it, the best way to “keep Christ in Christmas” is to model Christlike behavior. Jesus was for feeding people. Jesus was for healing and compassion. Jesus was for getting a bunch of loud, messy, mismatched people around a table and having a big dinner. Not a moment of his life did he spend trying to get his name up on a sign.

10. And speaking of signs…this just does not make for attractive seasonal decor. Martha would not be pleased:  http://www.thathouseinmilford.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=143841377

Any way you shake it, simple is best; and joy comes in much smaller packages than we’ve come to expect.

Rev. Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Foothills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Phoenix, AZ. Visit her blog at www.irreverin.com.

About Erin Wathen

Rev. Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Saint Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Olathe, KS (www.sacchome.org). She's a Kentucky native, a long-time desert dweller, and she writes about the sacred thread that runs through pretty much everything. For more info, click the 'about' tab above...

  • http://twitter.com/jncatron Joe Catron

    I can say nothing better than what a Muslim friend tweeted yesterday:

    “best part: santa, reindeer, Xmas trees, & baby Jesus everywhere & ppl say ‘Happy holidays’ MY HOLIDAYS ARE OVER, this is yours”

    If anyone takes offense to being wished a “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” or “Eid Mubarak” by a well-intentioned person of another faith, then really, who cares what they think?

    But pretending that a distinctively Christian holiday season is something with the same meaning for everyone is really a little patronizing. It doesn’t take a theologian to see that it isn’t.

    • 65snake

      “pretending that a distinctively Christian holiday season is something with the same meaning for everyone is really a little patronizing.”

      This right here is part of the problem.
      First….The only reason that it is a distinctively xtian holiday season is the plain fact that xtians have been, until recently, enjoying what is essentially special privilege. Stop being whiny when you are now expected to acknowledge that you are not, nor have ever been, the only ones with a holiday at this time of year.
      Second…Who are you to say that my holiday is any less meaningful? It may not be the same meaning, but it is still a major holiday of the year, as the author clearly pointed out.

      Perhaps you should try reading this article again.

      • Terry

        Special Privilage, How so? While I fully understand the various inputs that caused Christmas to come about, Christ is the way the truth and the light. There is nothing special in privilage about acknowledging that which is true compared to that which is false. Does the child who claims that 5×5=25 have special privilage when he is acknowledged as having the correct answer compared to those who argue a different answer?

        • TychaBrahe

          Religion is not fact. Religion is more like preference in books or movies. I get that Christianity is true for you, but if you insist it must be true for everyone, then, yes, you become one of those offensive people who get upset that this month isn’t entirely yours.

        • http://immaletyoufinish.blogspot.com Marty

          “…Christ is the way the truth and the light. There is nothing special in privilage about acknowledging that which is true compared to that which is false.”

          If it were true, there would be evidence. You can acknowledge that it is your “truth”, but that’s as far as you can go, because without some kind of evidence to prove it, you can’t enforce it on anybody else.

          If you need a little perspective, I would suggest exploring the myriad of religions that other people practice, and find out how many of them think their’s is truth. Even if you think they’re wrong, what makes you think they don’t believe their religion with any more or less conviction than you believe in yours?

          And let me tell you something from a little bit of personal experience – I used to be a Christian. I found religion confusing, and scary, so many rules contradicting each other, shades of moral grey in between the clear “does” and “do nots”. I never had clarity any clarity from Christianity or the bible, but I thought it was truth, and I believed.

          But I never found more truth or clarity when I realised that I’d been living a lie. When the truth of the bible and the nature of god were revealed to me through a series of events that made me begin to question my faith, and even then, I did so with difficulty, a lot of cognitive dissonance, and a lot of fear. But I have never found more truth than I did when I left that religion.

          So you will never convince me that your religion is “truth”, not even with mathematical analogies – unless you have mathematical evidence for the truth in christianity, than the analogy doesn’t work anyway.

    • Jon

      Amen

    • Jon

      My Amen was to Joe not to 65snake.

      • Kate

        The reason the solstice holiday season is “distinctively Christian” is because until the 1950s there were actual, literal LAWS in most places mandating Christianity – including, contradicting the First Amendment, many if not most places in the United States. When it was actually ILLEGAL to make holiday displays representing other traditions for many centuries, the idea that the solstice holiday season is “distinctively Christian” is something that should be rectified, not celebrated.

        • Terry

          Please read the first amendment. It says “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion nor prohibit the free excercise thereof” Notice there is no mention of school boards, county offices, courthouses etc. You are incorrect. Please specify several of the laws you claim so trampled the masses ::-)

          • Jay

            Actually, the 14th amendment of the Constituation of the United States of Amerca extended the protections in the Bill of Rights to state and local governments. It’s the law of the land

      • Dodger

        Well, your “amen” should have been to Snake65. Get off my planet. Happy Saturnalia, lion food.

        • Art K.

          Lion food? Really? I’m feeling the tolerance.

    • Matt SD

      “But pretending that a distinctively Christian holiday season is something with the same meaning for everyone is really a little patronizing.”

      Do you put up a Christmas Tree? If so, then you are continuing a Germanic Pagan tradition that originally was a form of worshiping their God Woden also called Odin by the Scandinavians during the festival of Yule. Many pre-Christian belief systems aligned high holidays around the solstices and equinoxes, as well as the mid-points between those quarters of the year. This also corresponds to the changing of the seasons.

      The Winter Solstice was particularly important because it signified the “re-birth” of the Sun, where the days start getting longer, and the natural world comes back to life. In the earliest days of the rising Christian church, in an effort to convert as many Pagans as possible, the dates of the church holidays were deliberately chosen to coincide with the Pagan festivals, in an effort to minimize the differences between the faiths. But that would be a post for another day.

      There is a fairly large resurgence in Neo-Pagan traditions, in addition to the Abrahamic faiths that celebrate a Winter Solstice holiday, Pagans celebrate Yule. So, no this is not a “distinctively Christian holiday season”, and many of the “traditions” that accompany the holiday, such as the decorated tree, the Yule Log, Holly, and Mistletoe are all firmly rooted in pre-Christian Pagan traditions.

      Happy Yule!

      • Doug

        You are correct, sir. You can also trace the origins of Santa Claus back to Odin.

        If you want a real treat. Google Krampus.

  • Monica

    Amen! So well said. Thank you.

  • Tara Glynn

    I’ve never in my life met someone who was offended by someone wishing them glad tidings for a holiday they do not celebrate. Most people are relatively intelligent and can gather that you are doing a nice thing by wishing them a nice time.

    I have however met people who get *incredibly* offended when someone wishes them a “happy holidays” or a “seasons greetings” and this baffles me. So you reject my hope for you to have a good time because I didn’t phrase it probably for you? I’m a proud Christian, but I often wish people a happy holidays because frankly, it’s just easier to say than “have a happy thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and holiday break from work/school!” My bad for wanting to wish you a pleasant month and a half rather than a pleasant one day. Plus it has the benefit of including any other holidays you may recognize such as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Winter solstice, Boxing Day (St. Stephen’s Day), and Epiphany.

    And as to the complaints (not posted here but that I often hear from others) that “happy holidays” and “seasons greetings” are a PC attack on Christmas brought on at the end of the 20th century – these sayings are older than that. Happy Holidays date back to the 1890s and gained in popularity in the 1940s with the Irving Berlin song “Happy Holidays” made famous by Bing Crosby. “Season’s Greetings” dates back to Victorian times with huge spikes in popularity in the 1920s, and even Eisenhower used it.

    Let’s actually put Christ back in the Christmas season by showing goodwill to all those around us and focusing on His message rather than the labels.

    • http://www.calacirian.org sonja

      I love what you have to say here … I’d add Feast of St. Nicholas to your list. His feast is often given more significance than Christmas Day in northern European countries like Germany, Holland, etc. … it is also important in the Christian calendar.

    • dara

      well said!

    • Rich

      Well said Tara.

    • Lovey

      I like your comment! I say ‘Happy Holidays’ for that exact reason you pointed out and it absolutely wishes people well for the season, whichever one it is they recognize. I think the whiners have brainwashed our society to be hypersensitive to any little thing that isn’t claimed PC. Thankfully, there are people who believe in good will and good intentions. Saying something kind isn’t the problem, it’s being offended by it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions!

    • Terry

      I have never met any one who is offended by this. I have met many who are offended by Christmas music which has lyrics speaking of Jesus which has led to many stores playing musicof the songs sans lyrics. What is you proud Christian position on the nulification of the mere mention of Jesus lest someone be offended?

      • TychaBrahe

        I don’t get offended by Christmas music that mentions Jesus. I used to sing it.

        I get offended by it being played over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and …

        Aaaaaaaaah!

  • Jennifer

    Amen and Amen!!!!!

  • http://www.staticpoetboy.com Julie Booth

    Thank you! Love and tolerance. Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All.

  • http://www.kimberlyemerson.com Kimberly

    I love this! Let’s make Christmas about loving each other. We say we want to help bring people to know Christ. How well would you want to get to know someone whose followers get angry with you for not wishing them well in the proper way?

  • Jo Ann

    Celebrations around the time of the solstice, when the creeping darkness begins to turn back, are ancient and widespread. In English, this time was called “Yule” (with Germanic cognates). Why not let go of trying to insist that the commercial aspect of Christmas be about Jesus (really?), and just call it Yule, leaving “Christmas” for communities of Christian faith?

    • Phred

      Well said, Jo Ann. I’ve been pushing for exactly the same thing for many years.

  • Brian

    Instead, say “Happy Saturnalia!” More accurate.

    • Jennifer

      Much more accurate!

  • Robert

    Well said, Rev. Wathen!

  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    I celebrate Christmahannakwanzasolstica! Oh, and Festivus.

    • Melody

      Yes, we musn’t forget Festivus! :)

    • Doug

      Because it’s for the restivus!

  • Randy

    I do not believe the average person today using the term Xmas is using the X of Greek origin represent Christ. They are using to stay away from using a reverence to Christ.

    I also believe that most Christians in their intense effort to kepp Christ in Christmas are actually doing just the opposite by their own actions.

    We (Christians) need to show Chirst to others by how we act.

    • Carys Birch

      Maybe they just like typing something shorter? Plenty of people shorten words while typing, and very few of them are doing it for sinister political reasons. Y r u so worried abt it?

      (Okay, I really hate typing like that, it hurt me to do it. But I SORELY doubt that most people’s motivation for typing “xmas” is any different than their motivation for typing “u”.)

    • Biffster

      Chirst, hey? You know what they say about people who live in glass houses…

    • http://hopeisneverfalse.blogspot.ca Luna

      Does it really matter what people’s motivation is? You’re choosing to be offended by it based on your assumption of their motivation. Why not decide that it doesn’t matter? It’s still the same thing. I mean, how does you taking offense at it make you or them any happier? It doesn’t. So what’s the point?

    • Robin Salvadori Allison

      Sorry, I’m lazy and use Xmas instead of Christmas because it is shorter, and a standard abbreviation that has the secondary value of actually being proper. I know no one who specifically uses it to “take Christ out” or avoid His name, and I know a ton of atheists, agnostics, neo-pagans, and other faiths. Considering some of the very militant church hating types I interact with on line, SOMEONE would have mentioned their advocacy of not spelling out Christmas to avoid Christ. Seriously. Almost any non-Christian I know is likely to know the meaning of “X” in Xmas, since in my experience, the non-Christian is forced to learn more about Christianity than many Christians, simply to defend themselves from the overly evangelical.
      In other words, your assumption about people who use Xmas is a product of paranoia. Seriously, if one does not believe in Christ, one doesn’t care if His name is used as part of a holiday.

      • EmberLeo

        Anyone avoidant of the “Christ” in “Christmas” it is equally likely to want to avoid the “Mass” in “Christmas”. “Xmas” is still distinctly Christian, however abbreviated, even if you don’t happen to know the X is Chi, or notice that an X is a type of Cross (St. Andrew’s, if I’m not mistaken…), simply because MASS is Christian. Everyone I know who abbreviates to Xmas does it for exactly the same reason they abbreviate everything else: English speakers like to shorten their words. Half the time it’s out of affection and comfort even, not just convenience. How many people do you know who go by “Joe” instead of “Joseph”?

        -E-

  • Mabel

    I like to say “Happy insert appropriate holiday here!” Most people laugh. :)

  • Suzanne

    Oh Erin, you had me at #5, but then you kept going and by the time I’d read #’s 7&9, I was in love and ready to propose….except, that I’m already married, to a guy and I think you’re a gal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

    Honestly, I love your list and will steal and share it.

    Happy Holidays!

  • Jon

    I’m a Christian. The only religion that celebrates a holiday over the solstice is the Pagan religion. Hannukah comes before Christmas.

    Christmas is one of the highest, holiest days during the Christian Year. It is a Christmas Tree, not a holiday tree, s not a solstice tree, a Christmas Tree. I say Merry Christmas.

    I was already sensitized to the issue by seeing Christmas decorations up at store prior to Halloween (The Day of the Dead.) I thought it was so wrong to see those decoration, and my nine year old daughter thought it was crazy to be celebrating Christmas two holidays ahead of when it should be. I also think that it is wrong to hear Christmas Music in the stores and on the radios prior to Black Friday.

    One of my Twitter friends thought that I was being intolerant by saying that I disagree with the author of this article. There is a difference between tolerance and caving to political correctness. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” I have the right to say Merry Christmas and I have the right to go to services.

    Merry Christmas.

    • lena

      To Jon. There is no such thing as “the Pagan Religion” It is a term used by Christians to mark anyone who isn’t Christian, so yes lots of other religions around the world celebrate around the Solstice.
      Yes you have the right to say “merry Christmas” and go to services NOBODY IS DENYING YOU THAT, though Christians have often denied others that right ask any Native American.
      Yes you are being intolerant to demand that everyone else celebrates Dec 25th as a Christian holiday, especially considering that Jesus wasn’t born then and the holiday was taken from the non Christians at the time be decree. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. He wasn’t born in a stable, it wasn’t snowing and there was no Roman census.

      • Ye Olde Toade

        SOMEONE finally understands “Pagan”!! high fives Iena.

        • Carys Birch

          Neopagans also use the term to refer to the religious movements under that general umbrella (Wicca, Asatru, Druidry, various reconstructionist traditions, etc). But even then “the Pagan religion” makes things a whole lot more monolithic than they actually are.

          But the idea that Christianity has a monopoly on the end of December as a holiday season is pretty funny. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice#Observances

          • Mike

            Carys, I went to the Wikipedia site and started reading the so called list of holiday’s. The majority are no longer celebrated, so they are interesting, but not really a reason to say happy holidays. Only in the United States do I hear happy holidays and I find it very “politically correct”, lazy and not very helpful. I work in a international group and everyone I talk to wishes me a Merry Christmas. Many are not Christian, but they still wish me a Merry Christmas. WOW what a concept. I am also glad to acknowledge my non-Christian friends holidays that I do not celebrate. I find it sad that we are so afraid of Christ that we will not celebrate his birth or say HIS name in public.

          • Kate

            Mike, when you find such a place, let me know.

      • Doug

        Thanks for putting Jon in his place. I’m a believer but I don’t call myself Christian because I don’t want to be associated with the ignorance that surrounds today’s church.

        They are the most ignorant, selfish hypocrites I’ve ever seen. Jon displays this nonsense by not understanding the history of his own religion.

    • cermak_rd

      Hanukkah does not always come before Christmas. One of the vagaries of a lunar calendar is that the holidays travel.

      • Biffster

        Kind of like Easter! First full moon after the vernal equinox, which of course changes every year, as does the date of Easter Sunday.

        • Doug

          Funny, isn’t it? Easter changes every year but Xmass doesn’t!

          Both are pagan and you can thank the Catholic Church for this.

          Yahusha (Jesus) was a Jew! The early church was Jewish/Israelite. They celebrated Passover (His death) and First Fruits (His resurrection) as those were the appointed feasts of the religion.

          Now a lot of ignorant Christians claim the feasts have been done away with but that’s because they’re too lazy to learn Biblical history.

          So, the Christians stole the pagans’ holidays and then cry when we don’t use the Greek name of “Christ” in Christmas. So immature.

      • Molly

        And quite often, in fact, Hanukkah includes December 25th.

        • Robin Salvadori Allison

          And often as not, Passover fails to overlap Easter, because the original Jewish calendar isn’t being used by the Christians.
          I happily participate and enjoy many of the ancient holidays and celebrate them with my Pagan friends- those old holidays ARE still celebrated Mike- I have always celebrated Christmas, and added Chanukah for my spouse’s traditions. It is kind of fun with 2 sons born in December- one or the other almost always has a Chanukah overlap.
          We do a Passover/Easter on Easter Sunday because neither of us thinks God really worries about our calendar, or even how anyone chooses to worship. Celebrating life and Creation is all any deity worth worshiping is going to ask. I don’t even believe Him so petty as to insist upon belief without hard evidence, as long as your actions toward the world and others are congruent to what one would do with the belief- in other words folks, quit straining at gnats, celebrate what God [or the universe, or the Great Noodly One, or the Goddess, chance or whatever you want] has given you, and do right by others and you’re fine.
          Happy Holidays, whichever ones you celebrate.

          • TychaBrahe

            Passover overlaps Easter’s Holy Week depressingly often.

            My family has a friend who is an Episcopalian priest. He isn’t able to join our seder if it falls during Holy Week because of his other duties. It’s really annoying how many he is forced to miss.

    • William

      And no one has ever tried to stop you.

    • nichole

      first of all, the tree you refer to comes from polytheistic traditions LONG before christianity. christians stole that tradition from other solstice holidays. so you can call it a christmas tree if you’d like, but be aware that for many people it is NOT a christmas tree. in fact, the burning of a yule log, the giving of gifts, the sharing of a feast… all of these were things OTHER religions were already doing during the end of december. it just so happens it was convenient for christians trying to convert others if they adapted these traditions. so call them christmas traditions if you like, but i’m going to call them solstice traditions. both of these things is okay.

      & sure, yeah, say merry christmas. doesn’t hurt my feelings any. but when i say “blessed yule” or “blessed solstice” in return, you don’t get to be offended. or better yet: we can all just say happy holidays because we don’t know the religions of every single person we encounter! gee, that sounds like a great idea!

    • Terri Lynn

      Thank you so much. I was searching through all these comments and came across yours and was pleased. I have always said Merry Christmas and that is NEVER going to change. To each his own and if you don’t like seeing Merry Christmas posted or in cards or recited to you, well that’s unfortunate. You can celebrate it anyway you wish but in Canada it has always been Merry Christmas and that is what we say. There are many other places in the world people can go live if they are so sensitive.

  • http://www.houseofpeanut.com ARC

    I’m a non Christian who loves the secular traditions of the holiday season, so thanks for this. I appreciate when someone says Happy Holidays because it feels more inclusive, and that’s just nice, considering there are MANY late fall/winter holidays being celebrated at this time.

    A little awareness that not everyone is the same goes a long way, especially in places like schools and workplaces. One’s own church/house of worship is a different story, of course, since everyone is (presumably) celebrating the same things.

    • Buz R-C

      Look. I call myself a secular humanist. I celebrate every holiday I can. Just give the day off work. Paid. I was given 12 paid holidays in lieu of a higher salary. And 2 wks vacation and 11sick days. And a frugal retirement plan. I don’t care what you call them, just let me enjoy them at home!

  • Jed Burkey

    Love it! Another idea is to ask for donations of time or money to charities that serve ‘the least of these.” My wife and I have a Christmas party every year, specifically a Christmas party so our friends with other faith traditions can join as they feel comfortable and we in return can come to their celebrations and celebrate with them. More celebrations equal more fun with friend.

  • Sue G

    @Jon – I’m confused. What’s wrong and ‘politically correct’ about wishing someone well over a season during which they may, or may not, celebrate Christmas? If I don’t know someone, what’s wrong with me doing that?

    • Kate

      “Politically correct” is a dysphemism, because “doesn’t agree with my biases about the Way Things Ought to Be” is too honest.

  • http://www.alanstoddard.com Alan Stoddard

    I get your point. Seems to be “stop being so touchy about things that don’t matter as much as you think.” BTW, love Craddock. Ok, the problem in your approach is that it does not give weight to the theological side. Truth. I’d like to see you write a post that leans the other way. How far will you go before you are totally comfortable with the Christian Faith being erased from our culture?

    Good post. Yet let’s see the other side. Do you have a line on the other angle?

    • Mike Satterwhite

      @Alan Stoddard. TRUTH????? If you were interested in TRUTH you would not be celebrating the birth of Christ in December.

      I grew up in a Christian family. I loved Christmas then. I love it now that I am not a Christian (that does not mean I don’t believe in God, by the way; I just think we are responsible for our own actions and can’t pawn our sins off on someone else).

      I will say Merry Christmas on Christmas Day. Otherwise, you get Happy Holidays for all of the reasons above; plus the fact that variety is good for your brain and soul alike.

      I think the militant Christians here in the U.S. need to realize they are not living in a theocracy, despite their best efforts.

      • Doug

        Mike! You are correct! Militant Christians are a headache to deal with.

        The Catholic church basically forced the Roman pagans to become Catholic through law (see Constantine) then re-branded all of their festivals as “Christian”. They did this by law then enforced it through imprisonment, torture and capital punishment.

        Today … the secularists are essentially removing the religious tone of the holiday – NON-VIOLENTLY, may I add (unlike the Catholics did) and the Christians are throwing a hissy fit.

        It’s pathetic.

        • Terry

          Militant Christians? Yes, I saw a bunch of brown shirts storm a Walmart where they did not say merry Christmas and burn it to the ground! Have a more resent example??? one representative of the general, not an anomoly…

          • TychaBrahe

            This is the American Family Association’s list of stores you should shop at and stores you should boycott over whether or not they say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”

            http://www.afa.net/detail.aspx?id=2147486887

  • hlb

    Shopping and spending are not part of the Christian faith.
    The tradition started with the first 3 gifts to Jesus. Frankense(?) myrh, and gold.
    One for the need, one for the want and one for the share.
    The tradition of spending til you are broke is a 20th century gotta have culture.
    If you step back and actually look at the faith of Jesus,it’s about giving to others, and following the Word of God.
    If I say Merry Christmas to someone, I’m offering all the faith and blessings of the season.
    If I say Happy Holidays, it’s to someone I personally know is of a different faith but know they still celebrate the intent of the season.
    The reason for the season is based on Jesus. The reason for spending is based on corporate greed.

    • Ye Olde Toade

      Oh wow…..gold frankincense and myrrh? I thought it was gold, drinkin’ sense and fyrrh, what every girl needs!!

    • Brandy

      Actually, hlb, if you knew the history of December 25th, Jesus didn’t start out as “the reason for the season”…that’s a recent innovation that Christians teach. Jesus wasn’t even born in December, so how is he the reason for celebrating in December? In truth, the week following up to and including December 25th was the Roman celebration Saturnalia (in other areas of the world it was also known as Yule or Winter Solstice)…established well before the Jesus story. The Christians superimposed their beliefs about Jesus onto Saturnalia to convert the pagans, who weren’t about to give up their beliefs to a “new God”. This way, everyone could still celebrate, but the Christians could say it was because of their God…and as Christianity grew, eventually that stuck as being the reason for celebrating.
      And gift giving far predates Christianity (and our modern version of it…though we do tend to go a bit overboard with the spending).
      So, no, in all honesty, Jesus was NOT the original reason for the season…even though he may be for you personally. You can have your beliefs and celebrate Jesus on December 25th, but be courteous and let others do the same with their beliefs on the day that many cultures/people celebrate for different reasons.

      • Jordan St. Claire

        I want to marry you. :O

        It drives me nuts when Christians think that we’re hijacking their holiday to give to Santa and reindeers but they don’t like to recall how their religion took over the ‘pagan celebration’ to convert non-believers into believers. Either that or they just don’t believe that’s how it happened.

        Christmas will always be Santa, reindeers, presents, family-gathering, and that incredibly awesome gingerbread village of mine. I’m sorry it bothers anyone that I just don’t associate it with baby Jesus or anything holy. That’s how I was raised and that’s how my children are raised, too.

      • Molly

        The Jews appropriated the solstice celebration before the Christians did — keeping the celebration of light on the darkest night of the year, and overlaying it with a minor miracle involving long-burning oil so that it also had religious significance.

        • TychaBrahe

          Actually, Hanukkah was originally a military holiday, rather like Veteran’s Day (which is really a celebration of VE Day). The story of the miracle was added much later than the actual events.

          It’s not really a solstice holiday. For one thing, Judaism isn’t a solar religion. Judaism counts its calendar from the lunar cycle. Also, it’s a very minor holiday. In Israel it’s nothing at all. The holiday of Christmas-like joy is Purim. It’s only a big deal in America because Jewish parents don’t want their children feeling left out of the gifts.

  • Mike Satterwhite

    @hlb “The reason for the season is based on Jesus.”

    For you maybe. For me it’s all the great food, time with relatives and friends I rarely see, colored lights, cooler weather, hot chocolate and once-in-a-while, some time off work.

  • Leo

    This post misses the point of why they do this every year. None of these point matter. The War on Christmas is is a reinforcement of the narrative that there is a liberal war against Christianity, as “obviously” visible by liberals efforts to stomp Christianity out of the public sphere. Because the War on Christmas fits so perfectly into that narrative, and *the Narrative is the more core belief*, your arguments, to them, amount to nothing more than nit-picking quibbles, which miss the point- liberals are stomping Christianity out of the public sphere. That is why a post like this can’t work.

    • MJC

      @Leo: I find the fact that you are making this a partisan political issue disgusting, yet predictable. The “Liberals” don’t have a war on Christianity, but there are plenty of people, both conservative and liberal, republican, democrat, libertarian and independent, who recognize that this is not a country of the Christians for Christians by Christians, and therefor people of other faiths are not relegated to second-class citizens. You want to wave your finger and blame the “liberals” as the evil, atheistic boogeymen, but the fact that you feel that you and yours deserve a more privileged place in society demonstrates that you are in fact the one who is waging the war on Christianity.

      • HLR

        @MJC: I think you might want to read Leo’s post. I think you missed the point.

        • MJC

          I totally and absolutely did miss the point!

      • MJC

        @Leo: As HLR points out, I missed the point of our missing the point post. I apologize, though I do think Erin’s article still has quite a bit of merit. No it might not sway everyone’s opinion, but it certainly gives people logical points to make when confronted by those kinds of people.

      • Donna Goodwin

        You are so right, I’m considered a liberal & I have no intentions of interfering with Christianity. I am a Christian & futhermore than are just as many Christians that are liberals as the so called Republican, moral majority. You need to get off that bandwagon.

    • Amandr

      ” liberals are stomping Christianity out of the public sphere. ”

      Thanks for making me laugh so hard I snorted milk out of my nose.

      Where is this public sphere in the United States in which Christianity is a minority? Because I would like to find it and live there.

  • Susan

    I agree with a few of the statements made in this article, but had to take exception to a few of them also.
    Personally, I feel that using X to signify Christ is insulting, to me and to Him! He isn’t X He is Jesus Christ. I wouldn’t like it if someone called me STS (my initials). Using X is just being lazy, not to mention that using X instead of Christ’s name is just bad “branding” to non-Christians. If you’re proud of being a Christian and you want others to join you in His church you should be using His proper name!
    Additionally, I am wondering what kind of “reverend” speaks about Christ in the PAST tense as you have done Ms. Erin? In MY church we celebrate a LIVING Jesus Christ! Are you doing the same, or like most protestant churches, do you put all of your emphasis on the crucifixion??

    • vorjack

      You do realize that “Christ” is not a name but a title, don’t you? It’s not part of his “proper name,” which would probably be “Jesus of Nazareth,” or perhaps “Jesus bar Joesph.”

      • MJC

        You beat me to it vor, but I believe that his birth name was actually “Yeshua ben Yosef.”

        • rob

          Right. He had the same first name as Joshua.

          Anyway, why not get offended that Christ is being mashed together with “mas”?

          • vorjack

            Point. It’s always interesting to here Protestants fight for their right to talk about “Christ’s Mass”

  • Gordon

    I sometimes go to church out of family obligation (mainly for funerals) but I never intend going of my own free will ever again.

    I love Christmas and I don’t believe that Christians own it any more than I believe the Vikings own Thursday. Even when I was one of you I knew that Christmas was predominantly a Secular Holiday.

    • Andrea in Kansas

      “I don’t believe that Christians own it any more than I believe the Vikings own Thursday”

      I love your talking point, and I’m stealing it for Holiday Use!

      • Heather

        Me too. Keep Thor in Thursday! But seriously. Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, it’s all the same. I really don’t understand the nastiness that Christians are shovelling around these days.

        • Kate

          Keep Thor in Thursday? I’d be happy to get hammered with you!

  • vdub

    Secularism has hijacked a Christian holiday, and the secular hubris is so profound as to not see the irony.

    • MJC

      Your statement is an iconic demonstration of both hubris and irony.

    • Wallace Green

      Methinks, ancient Christians may have hijacked a pagan holiday!

  • http://storytimewithblair.wordpress.com blair roberts

    your my hero! literally, 2 hours ago, i said most of what you said, less eloquently, in trying to describe my frustration with this fake war on christmas. thank you!

  • Soph

    Thank you Rev. Wathen for your article and opening the discussion.

    I agree with many of the points regarding oversentization towards other expressions of seasonal cheer and demonstrating Merry Christmas through good acts rather than griping over its use.

    In my opinion, any greeting or well-wishing should be done from a place of love. If your faith in Christ would make saying “Happy Holidays” feel unauthentic then wish everyone a “Merry Christmas”. By the same token, accept my “Season’s Greetings” with the goodwill with which it was intended. If you don’t celebrate any holiday in November or December, simply reply with a “Have a Great Day!” or “Happy Thursday!”.

    As long as the wish is honest, we may be speaking different languages but we are saying the same thing.

  • Bob Fugate

    It is impossible to take Jesus out of these holidays for he is the reason this particular time to celibrate was choosen. Like it or not Jesus is the reason we are shopping and celibrating during these special holidays. How you greet someone during this holiday is in-material and does not matter. Jesus would be happy as long as you are friendly and loving to your neighbor no matter how you expres that. So when you say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” Jesus is still the reason for the season and he is happy. We all know that Jesus was not born on this day. It is just a day that has been choosen many moons ago to celibrate Jesus’s BD. Christians or believers of any religion do not own this day, nor should they. Jesus would not want to force religion upon anyone or to force you to think only of him during this time of celibration. He is there for you if you want him, but the choice is yours. Jesus would not want this holidays to be only about him, that would be selfish and in-considrate of others and that was not his way. So I will conclude; almost all of us are having parties, buying things, visiting, etc. generally just having fun and we are doing it at this time because we have choosen years ago to celibrate Jesus’s BD at this time. Even if the reason you are celibrating has nothing to do with Jesus he is the reason this time was choosen, so you can’t take him out of it and you must give him credit for the season. Now if anyone wants to form another group to celibrate in another month or time go ahead, if not just agree that the reason you are celibrating at this time is because of Jesus and enjoy and be happy with me.

  • Jake

    One thing that peeves me a bit is that “Christians” get pigeonholed in these arguments (and others) by the worst of our kind. There are some Christians that make a big deal of this. Others though, are just excited to see an above average amount of love around (as that is the spirit of Jesus in our minds, know it or not) :)

  • http://aediculaantinoi.wordpress.com/ P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    As a non-Christian who is in favor of saying “Happy Holidays” in order to be more inclusive of everyone (including myself!), thanks very much for modeling good behavior with good sentiments behind it! :)

  • Mike

    Have a prayerful Advent and Merry Christmas!

  • Nancy

    Whenever someone at my (Episcopal) church starts getting wound up about this issue, I smile sweetly and say, “But it’s NOT Christmas. It’s ADVENT.”

    • Pastor Steve

      Thank you, Nancy. I’ve been reading through all of these comments and wondering when someone would mention Advent. Perhaps we would be much better served to put our energy into observing Advent as a season of preparation, and reclaiming a “Christmas season” that begins on Christmas Eve and continues through Epiphany.

  • Terry

    I am not sure why the author has to use the inflammatory term “whining” to describe Christian’s deeply felt sadness as pop culture continually pushes truth, righteousness and Christianity deeper into the cultural corner. We are commanded to go spread the gospel throughout the world and yet some of our own seem to think they are whining when they take a stand for an observation which admittedly is not proscribed in the Bible, but yet still is theologically relevant. In the author’s number one, she claims that ‘ it’s nothing against Jesus really’. When does she ever draw a line of saying that we’ve been pushed back far enough? Perhaps when, in the end times, government regulators outlaw the mention of Christ, even in church services, She will have an excuse for this as well. While I don’t claim to have the definitive handle on the interpretation of revelations, certainly Christians will be persecuted and the behavior that she describes and seems to find no harm in whatsoever is a precursor to our persecution in a far more blatant fashion.
    She seems to treat all faiths equally and mentioning that “they’re just living their faith as well” are we so unsure of our faith, that when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the light. No man comes to the father but by me” that we don’t realize the truth of Christianity, or do we want to bring in the Druids, The pagans and say as long as we worship something. It’s okay
    Number three is especially entertaining. I wonder If she were to do a survey of all the people who used the term Xmas, how many would default to saying “I really am a Christian, I was just using the Greek to express myself“. Yeah, right.
    In number four she mentions somethingng about keeping Christ in Christmas sounding like keeping to ourselves. I have absolutely no idea what she means about “keeping for ourselves”.
    Number five. I find to be the most tedious, for no one of any spiritual depth that I know wants the publicc school system responsible for their child’s spiritual upbringing. Evidently, the author cannot distinguish between wanting to cede all Providence for one’s children’s spiritual growth to the school system and not wanting their children to learn in a cultural sewer, where all of their most cherished inclinations are spat upon by the likes of honey boo-boo, Jerry Springer and the rest. Is it not possible In her world for parents to be In the command position of spiritual lead/teacher and yet still want their children to go to a school system in which Christianity is affirmed, at least to some small degree. When she speaks of being offended by the posting of the 10 Commandments, I think of Jesus speaking of people being offended/Denied/ Ashamed by him and their place in heaven. Yes, by all means let us not post the 10 Commandments, but rather coarse lyrics to rap songs and some druidic feel good chants and incantations.
    I am especially befuddled by number six. On the one hand she claims to be happy that others are exposed to Christianity, but in all the other senses, she seems to be ashamed of any public celebration of Jesus, the posting of the 10 Commandments or expressing that we want to keep Christ in Christmas. Such the contradiction.
    part number seven. I actually agree with. Though I was not surprised to see “Spreading the gospel“. Missing from her list of things to do other than go shopping in order to feel the spirit of Christmas. Of course, the druidic experience of going out in nature is there. I agree that Christians would be well served to stay out of the malls and their consequent hyper materialism. HER CASUAL REFERENCE TO THE “BIRTHDAY bOY” IS QUITE UNBECOMING ESPECIALLY FROM ONE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT m
    Number eight shows that we should have no care whatsoeverr of moral decay all aroundd us, even when it impacts our own lives, according to her.
    Number nine YES! Except I do not think Jesus would claim the last dinner as one of his crowning achievements. preaching the gospel. The feeding the poor, ostensibly with other people’s money, of course, is in there.
    Though she thinks. Number 10 is not attractive. The message is what is important. John the Baptist was probably not attractive, but his message was important. And what Martha thinks of something is entirely irrelevant to me and all Christians I know.
    So she thinks Jesus is OK with Gay people. How about adultry? Would Jesus be OK with her husband stepping out on her? They are not commandmants, just sugestions. TThe scripture evidently has no meaning and it is all about feel good rock and roll. Anothe reason youngsters and females should not be in the pulpit

    • MJC

      Wow Terry, this is not only sexist and elitist, but condescending as well. Let’s break down what you’re saying, shall we?

      Terry said, “I am not sure why the author has to use the inflammatory term “whining” to describe Christian’s deeply felt sadness as pop culture continually pushes truth, righteousness and Christianity deeper into the cultural corner. We are commanded to go spread the gospel throughout the world and yet some of our own seem to think they are whining when they take a stand for an observation which admittedly is not proscribed in the Bible, but yet still is theologically relevant.”

      How is this theologically relevent? When people get upset that others say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”, please tell me how spitting out a spiteful response of “It’s MERRY CHRISTMAS” back at the person relates to the theology of biblical teachings in the least? When someone verbally vomits back in my face, I don’t get a sense of “deeply felt sadness,” only spite and contempt. You accuse pop culture of pushing Christianity deeper into a cultural corner, but aren’t you just reacting like a spoiled child simply because society chooses to accept that people do not all share the same spiritual beliefs, and thus wants to share warm greetings with everyone of every faith? Please, tell me how recognizing and respecting the faiths of others is offensive to you and your religion. Please try to do so without whining.

      Terry said, ” In the author’s number one, she claims that ‘ it’s nothing against Jesus really’. When does she ever draw a line of saying that we’ve been pushed back far enough? Perhaps when, in the end times, government regulators outlaw the mention of Christ, even in church services, She will have an excuse for this as well. While I don’t claim to have the definitive handle on the interpretation of revelations, certainly Christians will be persecuted and the behavior that she describes and seems to find no harm in whatsoever is a precursor to our persecution in a far more blatant fashion.”

      Wait, so now Christians are being persecuted? Because people are choosing to acknowledge holiday celebrations beyond those of the Christian religion? No one is telling you that you cannot say Merry Christmas to people, or that you cannot follow your religion, or practice your religion. On the other hand, society (and by proxy the government) has mandated that you cannot impose your religious beliefs on others. That includes the teaching and directing of your religion by public employees (including school teachers), or religious displays on government property. It’s the First Amendment of our Constitution. The fact is, as the majority religion, Christians have largely ignored the First Amendment for nearly 200 years, and as such have enjoyed an elevated status in our country, thus relegating non-Christians to the status of second-class citizens. This so-called “persecution” that you’re referencing is nothing more than the acknowledgement that everyone in our country should be viewed and treated as equal regardless of their religious beliefs. Obviously, you do not agree that they should.

      Terry said, “She seems to treat all faiths equally and mentioning that “they’re just living their faith as well” are we so unsure of our faith, that when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the light. No man comes to the father but by me” that we don’t realize the truth of Christianity, or do we want to bring in the Druids, The pagans and say as long as we worship something. It’s okay…”

      So you’re suggesting that all faiths shouldn’t be treated equally? Are you suggesting that people should not be allowed to believe and worship as they please, as is their right according to the Constitution of our country? Or are you suggesting that Christians should enjoy a higher status than non-Christian? Please, tell me in the Bible where Jesus said this. Maybe you were going to say that in the part you obviously left off of your rant there, huh?

      Terry said, “Number three is especially entertaining. I wonder If she were to do a survey of all the people who used the term Xmas, how many would default to saying “I really am a Christian, I was just using the Greek to express myself“. Yeah, right.”

      Your dirision and contempt are apparent. Very Xtian of you. Of course, I’ve seen Christians using the term Xmas for years (I certainly did while growing up). It wasn’t until the last 10 years or so that there was such an outcry about people supposedly trying to remove Christ from Xmas.

      Terry said, “In number four she mentions somethingng about keeping Christ in Christmas sounding like keeping to ourselves. I have absolutely no idea what she means about “keeping for ourselves”.

      That’s because you aren’t paying attention to your own attitude. You feel that the Christians own the season, own the holiday, own the day. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. As numerous people have already pointed out, Christians adapted (some say stole, though historical accounts conflict on this point) the holiday from Roman pagan religious celebrations of solstis. At no point did anyone in the Bible ever command that such a holiday or celebration take place. And yet you’re over here claiming that Jesus is the reason for the season, and get beligerant if anyone suggests otherwise. Sorry, but the fact that your head hancho’s name is in the holiday doesn’t give you any special privileges towards it.

      Terry said, “Number five. I find to be the most tedious, for no one of any spiritual depth that I know wants the publicc school system responsible for their child’s spiritual upbringing. Evidently, the author cannot distinguish between wanting to cede all Providence for one’s children’s spiritual growth to the school system and not wanting their children to learn in a cultural sewer, where all of their most cherished inclinations are spat upon by the likes of honey boo-boo, Jerry Springer and the rest. Is it not possible In her world for parents to be In the command position of spiritual lead/teacher and yet still want their children to go to a school system in which Christianity is affirmed, at least to some small degree.”

      We don’t live in a theocracy. Teachers, (at least the public employees), do not get paid to impose their (or your) religious beliefs upon the minds of children. The fact that you think it should be done goes to show your contempt for those who don’t share your beliefs. But here’s a little gem for you Ter (may I call yout Ter?), the prayer and biblical readings that you so long to put back in schools, was not removed by the wicked evil Atheists. Oh no sir/maam. The whole movement to remove prayer and scripture reading from schools was started by groups of Christians and Jews, because no one could seem to agree on who’s version of the scriptures to use! Face it, if by some crazy apocolypse the government was overrun by Rick Santorum clones, and prayer and scripture readings were reinstituted in schools, your first question would be “which version of the Bible are they using?” immediately followed by, “WHAT! That’s not the version that I use!”

      Terry said, “When she speaks of being offended by the posting of the 10 Commandments, I think of Jesus speaking of people being offended/Denied/ Ashamed by him and their place in heaven. Yes, by all means let us not post the 10 Commandments, but rather coarse lyrics to rap songs and some druidic feel good chants and incantations.”

      You are attempting to obfuscate the issue. I’m sure you know full well that the 10 Commandments were not removed from public (i.e. government owned) buildings because of shame or denial of Christianity, but because of the First Amendment. Putting Christian scripture in a public building without offering the same to all other religions obviously shows favoritism towards Christianity. It says to non-Christians, “We as a structure value this religion’s teachings over your own, and thus we value the people who believe them over you.” You know full well that this is unacceptable, but you’re going to try and claim that now people are ashamed of Christ in order to misdirect it, which is dishonest, and I’m fairly certain one of those Commandments has something to say about honesty. Also, please clarify which public institutions replaced their display of the 10 Commandments with rap lyrics or druidic chants and incantations, because now it appears that you’re just being rediculous.

      Terry said, “I am especially befuddled by number six. On the one hand she claims to be happy that others are exposed to Christianity, but in all the other senses, she seems to be ashamed of any public celebration of Jesus, the posting of the 10 Commandments or expressing that we want to keep Christ in Christmas. Such the contradiction.”

      Again with the dishonesty Ter. At no point did she say she was ashamed of any public celebration of Jesus. You’re putting words in her mouth… or in her text at least. She did say that they don’t belong in government buildings, and she already rebutted the “keep the Christ in Christmas” thing, so let’s stop acting so perplexed, shall we? She made a deep, heart-felt statement that people often do find spiritual inspiration in the holidays, and you’re trying to villify her for saying so. Is your last name Limbaugh?

      Terry said, “part number seven. I actually agree with. Though I was not surprised to see “Spreading the gospel“. Missing from her list of things to do other than go shopping in order to feel the spirit of Christmas. Of course, the druidic experience of going out in nature is there. I agree that Christians would be well served to stay out of the malls and their consequent hyper materialism. HER CASUAL REFERENCE TO THE “BIRTHDAY bOY” IS QUITE UNBECOMING ESPECIALLY FROM ONE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT m”

      Didn’t finish your sentance again there Terry. That’s ok, you made certain to try and villainize her for suggesting people get back to nature, despite the fact that God made nature. You also made sure to come up with something that you felt she should have said, and ignored the fact that she is suggesting that we do what Jesus commanded of us in helping the poor and sharing love. How dare she! And her “casual reference” to the birthday boy is so offensive, right? Because no preacher has every referred to the savior in such a way. That couldn’t possibly have been said with loving reverence. You’re really reaching for things to be upset about here Ter.

      Terry said, “Number eight shows that we should have no care whatsoeverr of moral decay all aroundd us, even when it impacts our own lives, according to her.”

      So instead of living her life and leading by an example of love, caring and giving, she should be out there condeming and wagging her finger at those who she sees as immoral huh? I wonder, what would Jesus do? What DID Jesus do?

      Terry said, “Number nine YES! Except I do not think Jesus would claim the last dinner as one of his crowning achievements. preaching the gospel. The feeding the poor, ostensibly with other people’s money, of course, is in there.”

      Who cares if Jesus would call it his crowning achievement? It is an achievement. According to the gospels, the apostles were a very motley group of people, and Jesus brought them together to one table. You’re trying to gloss over her point and slip a really PATHETIC political jab in there as well.

      Terry said, “Though she thinks. Number 10 is not attractive. The message is what is important. John the Baptist was probably not attractive, but his message was important. And what Martha thinks of something is entirely irrelevant to me and all Christians I know.”

      She’s right, the sign is gaudy, but I’m not going to argue with you on this one, because it’s pointless.

      Terry said, “So she thinks Jesus is OK with Gay people. How about adultry? Would Jesus be OK with her husband stepping out on her? They are not commandmants, just sugestions. TThe scripture evidently has no meaning and it is all about feel good rock and roll.”

      See, now this one I could spend hours on, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Obviously you’re referencing the verses in the Bible which so many fundamentalists love to point to as clear proof that God hates the gays, and you’re equating it with adultery in order to take a personal jab at her. Of course, like so much of the Bible, once you look into the context, the history and the theology, the position is quite debatable. Of course, you would not accept that, would you Ter? Because it doesn’t fit your point of view, and as you’ve made clear throughout your rant, you feel that anyone who does not share your beliefs is beneath you. Rather eleitist of you.

      Terry finished with, “Anothe reason youngsters and females should not be in the pulpit”

      Thank you for making it clear at the end that you’re not only ageist, but sexist as well. Terry, your intolorant, negative, condesending response to and article that encourages Christians to share joy and love with people regardless of their beliefs is nothing short of disgusting. If Christians are ever persecuted in this country, it will be because of so-called Christians (I say so-called because you don’t seem to follow the greatest commandment in the least) like yourself seek to persecute and undermind anyone who does not adhear to their beliefs. You clearly DO think that because you call yourself a Christian, that you own the season, and that makes it obvious that you don’t understand it at all.

      • Terry

        To MJC who wrote a responces to my earlier comments both posted on NOV 30, ; Wow, sexist elitist and condescending? I guess I am batting 3 for 3. Please give me discrete definitions for the words, sexist and elitist. If you think that I think women should be beaten when they speak back to a man, and this is why you call me, sexist, you are entirely Incorrect. But if you call me sexist because you think that I believe that women and men are intrinsically different and have different positions of equal worth in society, then yes, I’m a sexist and this is backed up by Scripture. If it were not so the commands to a husband and wife, in scripture would not be as different as they are.” Husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the church.”. “ Wives obey your husband.”.
        Do you think that some people have more wisdom and or intellect than others? Well, that makes you an elitist as well. Welcome to the club!
        To your third paragraph…. Assuming I have the capability to count to three , I am not sure what you are referencing when you ask.” How is this theologically relevant”. Please explain what “This” is referencing and practice your sentence structure. ….“please tell me how spitting out a spiteful response of “It’s MERRY CHRISTMAS” back at the person relates to the theology of biblical teachings in the least?” I am curious as to what kind of hallucinogens, you are ingesting because I never defended people doing this. Nor did the author bring this up, specifically. This is a fallacy In logic known as a straw man argument. You put forth the notion that my position Is something that it is not and in no way supported by the text and then argue against It. You wrote “When someone verbally vomits back in my face” and then claimed that I defended and encouraged this behavior . I reread what I wrote 3268 times and could not find any statement that in any way could be construed to supporting this behavior. So this is straw man argument number two.. Please read what I write more carefully. It will save me a lot of time in correcting you.. I am not sure where I have written anything that could be construed as whining. Perhaps if you were to share with me your notion of what whining Is, I could respond appropriately.. “Behaving as a spoiled child?” Thank you for the invective, but I do not believe it fits. Kwanzaa for instance was invented by a professor at Berkeley.. If you were to go to Africa and ask anyone in Africa. What Kwanzaa was they would look very befuddled. I believe I act as a Christian who knows that Jesus is the way the truth. The light, and that no man comes to the father except by him, when I write that Christianity is being diluted by false religions that people are free to practice. In the school system, we see Kwanzaa celebrations, but if a Christmas tree or a cross or the mention of Jesus happens then there is the ACLU immediately filing suit : it doesn’t seem very fair to me, Not to mention that whether or not someone believes in Kwanzaa has no relevance to their internal life, where as their belief in Jesus does. Perhaps you think Jesus is one of many, and that as long as someone believes in Buddha, a druidic gob or a voodoo doll it is all the same as believing in Jesus.
        “Wait, so now Christians are being persecuted?” please reread what I wrote and read the definition of the word “persecuted“. Please also study the difference between present and future tense, this will save me time in correcting you on high school level comprehension errors.
        please study the United States Constitution. The amendments you reference states only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….’. please notice how schools, local governments and the like are entirely absent from this amendment. There is nothing against a schoolteacher talking about Jesus in the Constitution. If Congress made a law requiring schoolteachers to preach Jesus, then this would be against the Constitution.
        your construct regarding second-class citizens who do not worship or believe in Jesus is somewhat like claiming that the group of people who think that 2+2 is equal to five are second-class citizens. They are second-class citizens in the sense that they are entirely Incorrect. Please do not construe the previous sentence to mean that I think people should be boiled in oil burned at the stake or sent to gas chambers, thank you. So you’re suggesting that all faiths shouldn’t be treated equally? . Treated equally by whom ? Jesus taught that we should love everyone. That is entirely different than accepting someone else claiming that worshiping a stack of twigs is the same as a relationship with Jesus. If someone wants to believe that 2+2 is equal to five. I will try to dissuade them from that, but there is no way to force a person to believe in either Jesus or the outcome of said equation being 4.. I have no idea what sentence I wrote that you could construct as claiming that I think Christians should enjoy a higher status than others.
        My derision and contempt are only for the obviously flawed argument that people, in general, are using the term Xmas are doing it because of such a masterful command of Greek and their Christian disposition. I am glad that these qualities did not escape your keen senses. The argument that X was used by the Greeks and is somehow a validation of the term Xmas is pathetic prima facie, and I will bet you 1000 of my dollars to 10 of your dollars that, were you to do that survey which I referenced, the vast majority of the people would have no idea about the Greek origin.
        “At no point did anyone in the Bible ever command that such a holiday or celebration take place” you are correct in this, and If you had been careful enough to have been paying attention, at the very beginning I wrote that this is not a proscribed celebration. Of course, you were busy thinking of ways to tell me that I was not paying attention to my own attitude. Had you been paying attention to what I wrote you would understand that my attitude is not what you currently think it is..
        Please read the definition of belligerent, so that you do not, in the future make this accusation in error. It will save me time in correcting your usage. Thank you
        I am sorry for you that you went to a school which did not teach English comprehension to a very high degree, for I never claimed that I wanted teachers to impose anything on a child’s mind
        “The fact that you think it should be done goes to show your contempt for those who don’t share your belief”. The first part of the sentence is an obvious error, because I never made the claim that teachers should impose their or my beliefs on children. In any teaching setting. There are beliefs, and a base predicate in any educational setting.. How does a society determine what beliefs should be taught.? While you may think that it is possible to teach entirely outside of a world view construct, I’m sorry, it is not so. I do not hold people who differ with me in contempt, even though I hold ideas in contempt. I am sorry that you cannot distinguish between the two. If I say that homosexuality is wrong, automatically to some people, I hate homosexuals. Using this logical construct. I can never say anything is wrong with out being guilty of hatred. So I guess if I say that it is wrong to lie, wrong to murder, wrong to commit adultery, that I hate all of these people that do these things when it Is not the case. Who are you to judge me as hating someone when I’ve never written anything about hating people. These are more straw man arguments which try to take people away from the truth that some things are right, and some things are wrong. This is entirely aside from whether or not I hate people or wish to Impose my view on people or wish to burn people at the stake, boil them in oil, or have them stoned in the public square.
        “You are attempting to obfuscate the issue. I’m sure you know full well that the 10 Commandments were not removed from public (i.e. government owned) buildings because of shame or denial of Christianity, but because of the First Amendment. Putting Christian scripture in a public building without offering the same to all other religions obviously shows favoritism towards Christianity. It says to non-Christians, “We as a structure value this religion’s teachings over your own, and thus we value the people who believe them over you.” You know full well that this is unacceptable, but you’re going to try and claim that now people are ashamed of Christ in order to misdirect it, which is dishonest, and I’m fairly certain one of those Commandments has something to say about honesty. Also, please clarify which public institutions replaced their display of the 10 Commandments with rap lyrics or druidic chants and incantations, because now it appears that you’re just being rediculous.
        I am not trying to obfuscate the issue. The author brought up the issue of the 10 Commandments and therefore it is relevant. Please pay attention. Again, please read the first amendment to the Constitution. It says nothing other than Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof“. The astute reader will see t the word Congress. This word is not a synonym for school boards, judicial buildings, city or county or state governments. But I do not wish to confuse the issue with facts.
        You seem unable or unwilling to differentiate between rejecting an idea and rejecting the person who holds an idea that is incorrect. I am called to value all people equally just as Jesus did. Regardless of the silliness of the ideas which they are beholden to.
        I was referencing schools and how they are not allowed to post the 10 Commandments, which was the original authors claim. If you were paying attention to what had been written, Hopefully, you would’ve understood that. As an instructor in the public school system. I know full well that pop music lyrics and various druidic messages are promulgated in the public school system, Several orders of magnitude greater than anything remotely having to do with Jesus. Evidently, you do not believe anything in revelations about the persecution of the church in the end times and how society and culture will change
        I do not think you know what “vilifying” means or you would not have used it in that sentence. I wrote that she SEEMS to be ashamed of any public celebration of Christ only because she, throughout the piece, asserts that anyone who laments the obvious dilution of the Christian theme of Christmas as being a whiner and how Christians should just take a seat at the back of the bus.. If she were so enraptured by those being inspired to seek God during the season, would it not be logical to keep Jesus as the central tenet of the celebration . I think I’m being honest and objective. What does my last name have to do with anything???? oh I see, you practice Guilt by association. My apologies.
        I read the piece 2368 times and did not find a single sentence fragment, so your notion that I again did not finish a sentence Is incorrect. Whether or not one, or 50 or 5000 preachers have referred to Jesus as the birthday boy is not relevant as to whether or not it is a reverential way of speaking about God’s son, who died on the cross for us. My morality does not come from majority status. That God made nature does not validate druidic notions. The central thesis that, amongst alleged Christians of liberal persuasion, rarely is sin and its consequences spoken of is manifest.
        “So instead of living her life and leading by an example of love, caring and giving, she should be out there condeming and wagging her finger at those who she sees as immoral huh? I wonder, what would Jesus do? What DID Jesus do? “ Jesus did condemn immoralities do the words ”brood of vipers” mean anything to you? The overturning of the money changers tables?? Do you think he did it because their arithmetic was incorrect, or because it was immoral??? and I know this may come as a shock to you, but it Is possible to love people, lead by example, be loving and caring AND make moral stands on various issues. Why some people have such a problem with this, I still do not understand. The two are not mutually exclusive
        I wrote nothing about God hating gays and have no idea how you constructed this notion, other than that it is easier for you to maintain your position via falsehood. I don’t know how you became omniscience to know my motivations when you wrote “and you’re equating it with adultery in order to take a personal jab at her”. there is no personal jab intended or apparent.. I have no idea if she is guilty of adultery or not. My intent was to show that all sin separates us from God, whether it is homosexual adultery, fornication, lying, deceit, hatred.
        The vast majority of Christian theologians hold that homosexuality is a sin. Having grown up in Cocoa Beach (near Kennedy Space Center), It amazes me that the fact that we went to the moon is debatable to some people. So that something is debatable, does not at all dilute its efficacy.
        “Because it doesn’t fit your point of view, and as you’ve made clear throughout your rant, you feel that anyone who does not share your beliefs is beneath you. Rather elitist of you. “ I am sorry that your interpretation of what I wrote is so far askew. I do not feel that people are beneath me at al, As in the eyes of God. We are all equal. Some ideas and notions are certainly beneath others.. If it were not so, then the lie would be equal to the truth.
        “Thank you for making it clear at the end that you’re not only ageist, but sexist as well. Terry, your intolorant, negative, condesending response to and article that encourages Christians to share joy and love with people regardless of their beliefs is nothing short of disgusting. If Christians are ever persecuted in this country, it will be because of so-called Christians (I say so-called because you don’t seem to follow the greatest commandment in the least) like yourself seek to persecute and undermind anyone who does not adhear to their beliefs. You clearly DO think that because you call yourself a Christian, that you own the season, and that makes it obvious that you don’t understand it at all.”
        Oh my gosh, I’m ageist!!!!!! so you think that a 15-year-old has the wisdom of a 45-year-old???why do you think they are called ELDERS of the church???? Tell me how many people you have met who were wiser in their 20s, then in their 50s. It is an Intellectual crutch to assign a name such as ageist, sexist, homophobic, etc. to someone in order to reject their argument prima facie. It alleviates the need to come up with a productive counter argument. Intolerance? yes, I am very intolerant of things like someone telling me that we never went to the moon, that 2+2 is equal to five, that we should not bother to worry that Christians are coming under greater and greater stress to remove themselves from the public square when other religions are welcomed in the public square. .A good for instance is the removal of Christmas songs, which dare mention CHRIST, from the play lists in stores. Lets just worship Frosty The Snow Man!! The article

        • Bill

          Your claim that the First Amendment does not apply to state and local governments is incorrect. The doctrine of incorporation through the Fourteenth Amendment means that the much of the Bill of Rights applies to state and local governments (see Gitlow v. New York).

    • cornerstone

      when I saw the word “progressive Christian” I knew there’d be a problem. who made her an authority on Christianity? some of her statements are absolutely not true. some of her language is offensive. I never heard her mention or talk about the bible. God thinks gays are okay? try reading the bible, God doesn’t approve of homosexuality. it’s an abomination. call Christmas what you will, but it is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. of course we don’t know the exact date, so what, we can celebrate any time we want to. believe what ever you want to and leave the christians alone. if we allow our beliefs to be watered down eventually we’ll forget the truth. Christians are being persecuted against. some places you can’t pray in public. our rights to worship openly are being taken away. the so called seperation of church and state was meant to keep the government from interfering with religion not the other way around. Some people say they’re Christians but really aren’t. Satan is at work, to destroy Christianity, which is all predicted in the book of Revelations. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, all good and perfect gifts come from God

      • Terry

        The end times are coming and these are the forebearers!

  • Bill

    No offense, but your #5 comment is delusional. The public school system is very much promoting issues of faith and religion to our children. The religion they are pushing is called humanism. Secularization IS a religion breaking into the primary camps of atheism (a religion in its own right), agnosticism, and humanism. All three of these rely on the wisdom of man (which always fails) rather than the wisdom of God (which can never fail). Part of the religion our schools teach is that evolution is a FACT, when it is only a theory. I believed that in my public education until I took the COLLEGE course on evolution, and saw that it was the most bogus and ridiculous “theory”full of so many gaps and “leaps of faith” that I had ever read about. Once you know the details evolution becomes indefensible. And evolution is one of the MANY religious concepts taught in our public school systems.

    • Kate

      When you weren’t paying attention in “the COLLEGE course on evolution,” which is a ridiculous straw man because evolution is an entire field of study unto itself) here’s what you missed: Evolutionary speciation is an observed fact. The biological mechanisms that cause evolutionary speciation are well-enough understood that undergraduate students now are doing speciation experiments as research projects that they expect to see results from before they graduate.

      Going by the same mindless standard, I could claim that the law of gravitation contained articles of faith because as an English major I won’t be taking higher-level classes on gravitational theory. Evolution is a theory in the same sense that gravity is a theory – it’s a set of equations and predictions supported by a lot of well-understood facts.

      In survey courses you’re just getting the basics of what the field is studying, with an implicit understanding that a bio major would follow up those topics in detail, in later undergraduate courses and graduate education, filling in the gaps that you assume don’t have answers. This is a feature, not a bug. You don’t get a four-year undergraduate education in one semester.

      • Josh Lyman

        Maybe he went to a Christian “college”. It is possible that at such places they have a single course on evolution, which is devoted to attacking a straw man idea of the theory and field..

    • TychaBrahe

      People who argue that “evolution is just a theory” don’t understand anything about evolution and less about theories.

  • http://none psw

    nice thought Erin–as a reformed cat–now atheist i support your thoughts and glad you expressed you feelings–dr. paul

  • http://www.miamarlowe.com Mia Marlowe

    As a writer, I am in favor of specific nouns. If you celebrate Christmas, that’s the word you should use to describe your holiday. I love that someone mentioned the word Advent, another deliciously specific word that sums up the anticipation Christians enjoy when looking forward to celebrating the incarnation of God.

    As a Christian, I have no problem with being wished Happy Hanukkah (or Happy July 24th when I lived in Utah and discovered the Mormons celebrate the “This is the place” moment with as much fervor as the rest of the country celebrates July 4th). I return the sentiment because it obviously means something to the one who wished it for me. It does not negate my holiday traditions to recognize someone else’s.

    What I object to is the watering down of our holiday language. If we mean Merry Christmas, we should say so. If someone celebrates Solstice, they should use that. Turning the season into a “pan-everythingism” diminishes all the holidays.

    • Tara

      As a pagan, I have wished people a Happy Solstice or Happy Yule before.

      Season’s Greetings or Happy Holidays is much safer. I get corrected with a “Merry Christmas” instead of a lecture on how I am a godless wretch who is going to hell.

      To be fair, not all responses were so intolerant. But it only takes a few for someone of an alternate faith to decide to go for the non-specific term rather than risk facing an outpouring of hate in response to a friendly greeting.

      • Robin Salvadori Allison

        I often wish folks Happy Yule or Solstice for the precise effect of seeing if I get attacked as a godless wretch. I haven’t been yet, but have gotten to give minor history/religious lessons to folks here in the Bible Belt. I tend toward happy holidays myself, simply because I tend to celebrate at least two, sometimes as many as 4, not to mention New Year.
        I wish that Christians would stop and use their God-given gift of intelligence to consider how many folks are turned away from Christianity by their insistence on following the FOX news lead of claiming persecution. You want persecution? Go live in the middle east where Christians are a minority instead of a nation where I believe 70% or more claim some sect of Christianity as their faith. As a Christian myself, I’ve been so offended by the preacher at a funeral I walked out, and have had similar experiences in other venues, so I heartily applaud my son’s schools not leading them in prayer, or teaching them religion. I’ll take care of that at home.
        Joys of the Season to all!

    • TychaBrahe

      People who object to the use of “happy holidays” make we wonder if they are OK with me having a happy Christmas but want to wish me a really sucky new year.

  • http://www.makemovebreathe.com Kevin

    I actually completely agree with your sentiment here. Nice list.

    I have however been amused with my 9 year old singing “We wish you a swinging holiday.” Some of the inclusive language borders on ridiculous.

  • Pingback: A Timely Article | A Journey Paved With Grace

  • Barbara

    Terry, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for posting!

  • Nancy

    I was raised and confirmed in the Episcopal Church(I can trace my family to Mayflower, but we were ‘Others” not Pilgrims) but married in a interfaith service(under a Chuppah) to my Husband(first generation born in US, father Ashkenazi and his mother is Sephardic) raised in a Conservative Jewish home and attended private Hebrew School until 8th grade. Just giving background as my house is a little different in the month of December than some of yours. Chanukah is also celebrated differently by different Jews, some think it not as important religiously as other Holidays. Chanukah as was stated above moves each year as the Jewish Calendar which is Lunar based. We normally have a Chanukah party with Jewish and Interfaith families and we celebrate Christmas with my Brother and has family. We send out cards that usually do say ‘Season’s Greetings’ we have friends that do celebrate lots of different Holidays at this time of year. We are trying to be inclusive and respectful but somehow that is offensive to some people.
    By the way the word Christmas is not mentioned in the bible and the Puritans and first colonists did not Celebrate Christmas as it was considered a pagan holiday. Christmas evolved in the US as different cultures immigrated and brought their traditions with them. Today we have immigrants that also bring their own traditions and different Holidays as they are not all from Europe.
    As a child my family would set up out tree in Mid to late December as my Mom wanted our tree to last to the Feast of the Epiphany. Now because the Christmas season start so early(consumerism) many set up their tree Thanksgiving weekend and take it down my Jan 2 and I’m not sure how many actually know what the Feast of the Epiphany is. Not sure if this is lack of religious beliefs or Americans just not knowing history in general.

  • Pingback: Venting about Advent « ByzBets

  • Rob

    I have pagan friends who celebrate Yule/Solstice and I myself am a Christian and celebrate Christmas. Although the traditions for both are very similar (all coming in some way shape or form from previous cultural and religious seasonal celebrations), we all understand that they are celebrating their thing and I am celebrating mine and the similarities are enough to make it seem like the same holiday, although our reasoning might be different (birth of Christ, return of sun, etc. etc. and so forth). I am not in any way threatened by other holidays because they are just that, other holidays. They are not trying to usurp Christmas, nor is my observance of Christmas in any way designed to usurp my friend’s religious holidays. It is a time of many many holidays for many many different types of people. It’s my favorite time of year.

  • http://jhmusicschool.com Jan Elizabeth

    Referring back to the idea of the “liberals’ war on Christmas”: Saying that is one of the best ways I can think of to get militant Christians aroused. And to whose benefit is it to get them aroused? It’s to the benefit of other militant Christians with the agenda of promoting Christianity, not declaring war on it. It’s what’s known as a preemptive strike. I absolutely believe this myth about the “liberals’ war on Christmas” was actually started by militant Christians, not liberals.

    As a former Christian who has shied away in part due to my complete embarrassment and lack of willingness to be identified with the bad behavior I saw modeled by Christians all over the news, I commend the author and many of the commenters for showing truly Christ-like qualities like tolerance and inclusion for other faiths, not allowing intolerance to go unchallenged, and putting people above politics or religion. Thanks for a great post!

  • Ace

    I can’t believe that grown adults are upset at the words that come out of other people’s mouths.

    Especially something that is spoken with good intention.

  • Stephanie Lind

    Great article, and excellent discussion…the butthurt and imaginary persecution that some of you so-called Christians are going on about here make me glad I’m no longer one of you. What I haven’t seen here, however, is a lot of discussion about the commercial angle of Christmas/”The Holidays.” As I said, I’m not a Christian so Christmas does not have religious significance for me but I do appreciate Christmas as a cultural phenomenon. I also have to admit that I’m not familiar enough with other faiths to know how other winter holiday celebrations dovetail with the trappings of Christmas (gifts, trees, cookies, etc.) So when I think about the secularization of Christmas, I think first about the media – and the use of the holidays to sell and pressure people to buy more shit. If anyone is to blame here, it’s the retailers who put out TV commercials trying to sell us “holiday presents,” “holiday decorations,” “holiday cookies,” etc. Inclusivity = more money, which is disgusting. It drives me nuts to see a commercial for cookie dough that shows mom and her daughter making what look like “Christmas cookies” but are called “Holiday cookies”…no matter what your religious beliefs are, that’s just kind of ridiculous. And I’m an agnostic who’s complaining about this…but the fanatical Christians want to blame me for “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” Don’t blame me, I’m too busy putting up rap lyrics on the walls of public schools to have time to spoil your fun.

  • Yvonne

    Dang we Christians can be a snarky lot. Love people. Love God. Die to Self.

  • lyndon

    this article nailed it on the head! religious people tend to feel “spiritually” superior to those who do not believe or share their beliefs. Most are Condescending at times, and I though their god/s are of love and kindness. I respect each of my friends faith and beliefs, however, some people, once they found out what my beliefs are, get appalled and bluntly tell me how sorry they are for me, WHAT?

  • lyndon

    Don’t get me going now…SO, A godless person is what? tell me!

  • Miranda

    As a non believer, the stirring I’ve felt and continueto feel around Christmas is being with my family and helping my community. However, I feel that year round.

  • peggy b

    When someone says to me “Happy Holidays” then what holiday is it?

    • Josh Lyman

      Any holidays you like.

  • Areli

    #7 YES!!!! – Consumerism is not a Christian value. If Christ is the reason for the season, do something Christ would do. Volunteer to visit people in the hospital or retirement home, to welcome home and assist veterans, feed the poor, work with Habitat for Humanity and similar organizations to get the homeless into homes. Help pick up the litter that destroys our playgrounds/parks/neighborhoods, knit hats for preemies, donate clothes, esp winter wear. When I was a (step)parent my girls went through their toys right before Christmas and collected the ones they didn’t want anymore and donated them to children in the homeless shelter. I’m Jewish and their father is Buddhist, but the girls were Christian so we made Christ a part of their holiday when they were with us. If we non-believers can do it, so can you.

  • Josh

    Firstly, as such an open minded and laid back Christian thinker one would think that Rev. Wathen would not stoop so low as to use spiteful and purposefully derogatory language to describe the actions and thoughts of other Christians. “Whining” carries a far more negative denotation and connotation than the multitude of ways she could have expressed the same thought but instead chose an attention getting title to pander to the lowest common denominator. The title of her blog entry also carries with it a blatantly heretical and blasphemous statement, “secular Xmas”. By definition there can be no such thing as a “secular Xmas” despite the best efforts of secular society and liberal(spiritually, not politically) “theologians”. To remove the sacred from Christmas negates Christmas. It does not become a new thing it becomes NOTHING, hence all of the strong feelings among the much maligned faithful who attempt to preserve the sacred nature of Christmas.
    This brings us to another important point, Rev. Wathen never comes right out and says it but this is a matter of theology. What we do with our faith and how we interact with others on behalf of our faith is rooted in our understanding of God, or our theology. What I found perhaps most remarkable about the reverend’s statements is that she only made a few veiled allusions to scripture. As a pastor and theologian it is bold, unwise, and staggeringly worldly, to take such a strong position on such an integral issue as the birth and celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and not cite one Biblical precedent for doing so.
    So let’s address this list…
    Item # 1-”Season’s Greetings/Happy Holidays”, these are apparently universally understood and accepted as the appropriate greeting during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, few problems:
    I didn’t get that memo and in my experience not many other people have received it either. In the lead up to Thanksgiving, I am wished, “Happy Thanksgiving!” in the period after Christmas and before New year’s I receive “Happy New Year’s!”. The only time that I receive this well established greeting of “Season’s Greetings” is in the space between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not an assault on Christmas? Seems suspicious.
    How did this criteria of setting the Holiday Season come into being? Looking at the time between the festivities it appears that an arbitrary timeframe of approximately one month(Thanksgiving to Christmas) between is sufficient to be included as a “Season” of Holidays. Application of this rule would extend our greetings of “Happy Holidays” to the months of October through May. Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, MLK Jr., Groundhog’s, Valentines, President’s, St. Patrick’s, Easter, Cinco De Mayo, Memorial, and we could almost stretch that to include July 4th, only a month and six days after Memorial Day. This list also only includes widely celebrated National and Christian Holidays(because Wathen constrained her list to these), before you begin crying foul over Cinco De Mayo, having lived in both a college town and an area of Chicago that is predominantly Hispanic, particularly Mexican, we do indeed celebrate Cinco De Mayo in the US.
    That brings up another issue, how do we define a Holiday. Since Rev. Wathen is so fond of employing word origin(# 3), let’s look at “Holiday”. While the “X” in Xmas is obscure to most, I would assume most can find the meaning and origin of “Holiday”, “Holy Day”. That’s right, a day that is holy or sacred. The fact that the reverend glosses over this has some pretty far reaching implications to her argument. As you see above a broad application of the word Holiday opens us to more than a half year’s worth of Holiday Season. A stricter application of the definition would eliminate New Year’s from the season and Wathen’s list is narrowed to two Holidays, one of which has already been made all but secular against the proclamation of the president who first instituted it, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”-George Washington. Rev. Wathen also comments on not wanting the school to be responsible for the faith education of our children, yet says we should have no problem with schools hosting a “winter HOLIDAY celebration”. So Christmas instruction in school is not okay but generic sacred day instruction is?
    Item # 2-There are indeed other Holy Days in December and as many of the commenters stated, Christ’s birth was most likely not in December. That is however when it is celebrated. Does this mean that Merry Christmas should be the only greeting? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean that it should be tossed aside either? I enjoy wishing a Happy Chanukah to my Jewish brothers and sisters and by all accounts, they enjoy hearing it as opposed to a generic greeting that could be applied to any holy day, homogenizing the calendar of faith for so many. As long as we are going to claim Happy Holidays as a panacea for inclusiveness and political correctness, what of those who celebrate no holidays between November and the first of January? We are blessed to be in a country that celebrates and embraces religious freedom and the freedom to live here and maintain the customs and history of one’s home country and culture. We also have the freedom to adhere to no religion what-so-ever. Why is it not an insult to wish these individuals a happy Holy day based upon our calendar, history and religion? An atheist should be no more insulted by Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah than Happy Holiday, likewise for all those not celebrating in this season. I wish passers by a Merry Christmas, not in attempt to be offensive but as a way of letting them know why I celebrate this time of year and I am not offended when I receive a greeting containing the name of another Holy day. Just saying Season or Holiday is demeaning and impersonal to people of all faiths, a statement of sameness, not diversity.
    Item # 3-The Koine Greek of the New Testament is a “dead” language. The Greek alphabet survives however and X or Chi is still the first letter of Christ in Greek but aside from classical studies majors and seminary students very few people associate the letter X with Jesus. While it was used for sometime as a shorthand for Christ, this is hardly its only use. It is also used to abbreviate on crossing signs, “Pedestrians X-ing”, another recent and ancient use is that of a signature when the signer cannot spell their name. X is by all modern accounts simply a variable, a protean symbol that may be used as a substitute for anything and everything. I would hope that if we as Christians are going to make a claim to X as Christ when used in X-mas we would do a better job of making that fact known. I doubt the average “X-mas”er is even aware of the word Χριστός.
    Item #4- Of course Jesus didn’t walk around saying Merry Me-smas. The word Christmas literally means “Christ’s Mass”. Mass was not a word or formal concept at the time. At the core this is an argument made by Rev. Wathen to make those who cling to Christmas feel silly. The tool du jour or modern persecutors and turncoats is ridicule and humiliation, and Rev. Wathen is an expert. This includes her tripe comments about keeping Christ in Christmas being bad for decorations and Martha(presumably Stewart) would not approve, because she is our paragon of Christian influence.(#10). Jesus did however go around saying “I am THE WAY, and THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE, no one comes to the Father but through ME. (John 14:6b) That sounds like a pretty bold statement of Me-ness. Notice also that He is not A way, A truth or A life, but THE, as in only one. I also fail to see the point or meaning behind “keeping for ourselves”. How is making sure to mention the greatest gift and wanting to share that and not see it lost a selfish or “hoarding” act. We are encouraged throughout all of scripture to proclaim the good news and name of Christ, not obscure it.
    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.(2 Timothy 2:15)
    But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:(1 Peter 3:15)
    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1John 1:1-10)
    We are also warned against godless speech
    But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,(2 Timothy 2:16)
    By the reverend’s approach I also feel that she may be unfamiliar with speaking the truth in love(Ephesians 4:15), yes we are to be kind and sensitive but we are to be first and foremost truthful. I find her words are neither.
    Item #5- I touched briefly on this earlier with the use of the word Holiday. I do agree that our children should receive their faith language from the home but that language should not be forbidden in schools. School choruses are encouraged to sing “secular Christmas carols”, again a secular Christmas is a paradox in the truest sense.
    Item #6-I do in fact feel that “the secularization of our favorite holiday has deprived it of all meaning.” How can it not? This is also the place where Rev. Wathen makes one of her most difficult to support theological and biblical statements, and as often the case neglects to even attempt to do so.
    “If we are truly disciples of Jesus, we should celebrate any element of the season that urges people toward the holy.” The last time that I read scripture, there was nothing passive about being a true disciple of Jesus. In fact we are commanded to be doers, not sit around and do nothings.
    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.(Matthew 28:18-20)
    How can we make disciples if we are sitting on our hands, mouths closed, waiting for people to wander aimlessly into our faith thanks to the wonders of secularism and politically correct holiday sentiments? Our message is not only profound and true but URGENT, how many Christmases will you wait before sharing Christ boldly with a neighbor? Will you wait too many?
    Item #7-I don’t know about others but the thing that bothers me about Christmas decorations with holiday signs is just that, another blatant contradiction. I actually enjoy seeing malls and city streets decorated for Christmas, the problem is that distinctively Christian elements are used and then labeled Holiday. Of course I could make sure I stock up on all supplies I would need for the month of December and never have to leave the house, thereby avoiding this insult but that is hardly practical. The tree is a Christmas tree, an evergreen to represent everlasting life, red ribbon or beads surround it to represent the blood of Christ which flowed so freely to cleanse us from sin, the lights representing the light of Christ shining in the world, an angel or star signifying to all to come and worship God incarnate, ornaments of gold to show that Jesus is the King of Kings. Now however, we have a Holiday Tree, what Holiday? It doesn’t stop there, Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas is a Christian figure, candy canes are meant as a tool to share the gospel, red and white and shaped like the staff of the Good Shepherd, we are surrounded by Christian symbols that are referred to as anything but. To eliminate all Christian images from the Holiday would leave most with jingle bells and snowmen. The fact that a store can decide to slather itself in Christianity and then deny it with words while pastors encourage us to deal with it is outright sinful.
    Item #8-”Life is too short to worry so much about what everyone else is saying and doing. Apply this to other areas of life and civilized culture, as well.” Again this is the exact opposite of what scripture tells us. Again I would remind you of the passages encouraging us to use speech wisely. Also consider the many passages concerning being aware of false teachings, doctrines, lies etc. that are used to sway the faithful. One of the greatest techniques of temptation is the question, “Did God really say you couldn’t from any tree in the garden?”(Genesis 3:1b) Everyday we are offered a similar question, “Did God really say…?” We’ll in this case God did say, we are supposed to worry about what we say and what others say making certain that we do not present a stumbling block to those beginning their journey of faith. Jesus warns that it would be better for us to drown that cause someone to stumble, how is stripping one of our most sacred days of its sacredness not confusing to the spiritually young?
    Item #9-”Not a moment of his life did he spend trying to get his name up on a sign.” In fact Jesus spent much of his life having his named shared in the ancient equivalent of a billboard or going viral. As Jesus traveled he was followed by multitudes crying out his name. On the night in which he was born the skies were filled with an army signing his praises in the light of a glorious star, a sign to all the world that a savior is born. His followers chose to bear his name as a sign to all around, Christian. And last but not least he was crucified beneath a sign that bore his name. It was in that act and the subsequent resurrection that God’s holy plan found full fruition and this pastor would have us hide that act of love and not cling to it with every ounce of strength and faith that we have. I fear for the future of the body of Christ when we have leaders such as these.
    “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

  • Art K.

    Hey. Now that we have re-elected a Socialist government Christmas is going away in a few years anyhow. It will be replaced with Big Brother Day. Hate Week already seems to be in place.

  • Melody

    Wow, lot’s of comments here. Some nice, some not so nice. I appreciate this article very much. There’s nothing, ok, maybe a few things, that irritate me more than a whiny Christian. I am a Christian. I don’t shove it in people’s faces and I don’t demand that they see things my way. I do my best to respect other people’s holidays around this time of year. I do wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I just like saying it. If someone were to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, whatever, I would appreciate that very much because they are including me in their celebration and wishing happiness for me.

    I appreciate this article so much. It’s what I’ve been trying to express to others only in a much more articulate way.

  • http://facebook.com/ByBethKander Beth Kander

    Love this post. From this Chanukah-celebrator (who comes from a very diverse family and has spent every December 25 dividing my time between Christmas trees and soup kitchens!), thanks for your thoughtful words!

  • Liz

    Thank you for this.

  • Jp

    That writer sure is an opiniated & sarcastic person.

  • Doug

    The author left out the fact that Yahusha (Jesus) was not born on Dec 25 anyway.

    The tree, the lights, the candles, the mistletoe, etc. That’s all adopted from the pagan Winter Solstice. Christians are the biggest whiners on the planet.

    • Terry

      If we are the biggest whiners then why does the ACLU file far more suites against anything Christian in the public square then all lawsuites by Christians combined??

  • Doug

    I say “Keep the HAN in Hanukkah”

    http://tezini.com/assets/2011/12/Han-Hanukkah-580.jpg

  • Pingback: Trackback

  • Pingback: Trackback


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X