Happy Holiday!

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.


About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
This entry was posted in Christmas and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Happy Holiday!

  1. Laura says:

    Thanks for the courage to post this Tim.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Because of it’s Roman Catholic significance and literal meaning, I am not a big fan of the word Christ-Mass either, but it’s not a hill upon which I am willing to die. Great article!

  3. Fantastic post pastor Tim ! Paul thought big .. saw the bigger picture .. thanks for helping us remember that. We can get so lost in the details we forget to keep the main thing the main thing. I think this blog was right on.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jesus came to this earth to instruct us of what our creator desired of his creation. He created us with a very sophisticated intelligence and free will and provides us with the resources that would become a harmonious society, living in peace. The only thing that he commanded us was love and through the parables, Jesus was instructing us what love was; that the observation of cultural norms was a necessary path to peace; and that authority by humans was not absolute in that compassion and common sense what was necessary of leaders. Tim is showing us how Paul is conveying this message.

Join the discussion by adding your thoughts and questions!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s