Andrea Kidd – Dec 2020

Καλά Χριστούγεννα” or “Merry Christmas”

Do you say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays!”? Which do you prefer? Does it matter to you? Does the greeting “Merry Xmas” ex Jesus out of Christmas?

Some say “Merry Christmas” to celebrate a very special birthday because they believe Jesus changes us for good; because He dealt with the inherent human burdens of shame, hate and judgment.

Others say “Happy Holidays!” believing Christians should keep “Merry Christmas” to themselves. After all, they reason, it might be offensive to a Jew or Muslim or Atheist. A Jew doesn’t say “Hanukkah Sameach!” to everyone he or she meets. So, some reason, only Christians should celebrate Christmas.

It is good to respect others. If your friend is offended when you say, “Merry Christmas!” then try a different greeting. If your friend is offended when you say, “Happy Holidays!” then respect his preference.

When Jesus was born, the message of the angels was “peace on earth, goodwill to all people”. It is a good message; no malice intended. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” ( John 14:27a NIV) Peace, when it finds an open mind to receive it, will overflow to those around.

The Greek letter “X” has been used for centuries as shorthand for the name “Christ” (Χριστός). Rather than negate Christ, the greeting “Merry Xmas” proclaims Him.

Saying “Happy Holidays!” or “Merry Xmas” may give the impression of excluding Jesus from Christmas celebrations but does not negate the faith of Christians; it cannot undermine a well-founded faith.

No need to change the greeting, or, change it if you like. It doesn’t really matter because it is Christ who changes minds.

by Andrea Kidd


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