When someone says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays", am I to take them to mean the same thing? Both infer the wishing of kindness and good will and/or well-being. As a Christian, I prefer the former. What troubles me is the fact that I, as a member of the majority that celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday, am forced to bend to the wishes of the minority and say the latter.
Having studied the history of cultural religions, I am aware of the fact that the tradition of Christmas (not the modern tradition), revolves around the festival of Saturnalia in ancient Rome. December 25th is the third day, or resurection day, after the winter solstice when the ancient Romans celebrated the rebirth of the sun god (daylight begins to increase after December 22nd). I am also aware of the fact that the date of 12/25, realistically, is not, based on the timeline listed in Scripture as it relates to the seasonal activities of the Middle East, the actual birth date of Christ...you know, "sheperds were in the fields tending their flocks by night"? Traditionally, sheperds sent their flocks out shortly after Passover, or early spring, and would begin to bring them in at the first rains, or mid-October. So what? I also understand that the early Puritans of England and the Massachusetts Colony forbid the celebration of Christmas because of it's ties to Pagan rituals (after several decades, this was reversed). Again, so what?
Christmas is the one day that I set aside (have had
set aside) to thank God for the gift that He sent us. This is unlike Thanksgiving when I give thanks for everything
that I have been given. I give gifts because this is what the Magi (wisemen) did and I enjoy seeing the joy, albeit materialistic, that it brings.
While some may argue that the celebration of Christmas is a Pagan ritual, it is deeply rooted in my Christian religious beliefs. If I pass you on the street and say "Merry Christmas" and you reply with "Happy Holidays", I will take no offense to it. At the same time, if you greet me and say "Happy Holidays", I will respond and say "Merry Christmas"...no inferrence or insult meant.
Merry Christmas to all!
Edited by rangecoach, 12 December 2008 - 09:57 PM.
The early bird may get the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
You are never defeated until you admit it. Gen. Patton