Before we get too far into the annual “Merry Christmas vs Happy Holiday” debate, I thought I’d raise a point for consideration.
I think there’s a good chance that Paul (author of much of the New Testament) would greet as many people with “Happy Holidays!” as he would with “Merry Christmas!”
“Why??” you ask, what conceivable reason could I have for saying something so potentially scandalous? Simply put, to the best of my understanding, because this is what Paul told us:
“Though I am free…I have made myself a slave to everyone…To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”
I believe we miss Paul’s point if his words don’t seem scandalous. I believe we neuter the revolution unleashed by Paul if we don’t feel the cultural tension he must have raised, as his carefully chosen categories were broadly specific enough to grate against the skin of any any 1st century audience.
Paul’s willingness to embrace any cultural tradition short of sin was (and is) shocking, even offensive. I wonder what sort of thing he might say today?
“Though I am a patriot and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Democrats I became like a Democrat, to the Tea Party, a Tea Party guy, to win them both. To those who say “Happy Holidays” I said “Happy Holidays” (though I myself am not bound by a greeting), so as to win those who say “Happy Holidays.” To those saying “Merry Christmas,” I said “Merry Christmas” (though I do not receive life from a greeting), so as to win those who say “Merry Christmas.”
I wonder if, in our effort to keep “Christ in Christmas,” we’ve actually lost the scandal of the cross and the offense of the Creator in a filthy feeding trough.
I wonder if we’ve missed the example of abdicating power in favor of love.
I wonder if there are times when saying “Happy Holidays” might just be the Christian thing to do.