Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays?

It's that time of year again. Christmas, Hannukah, Kwaanza and the New Year all come between the first of December and January. And sooner or later, you're going to face the decision as what to say when giving some kind of greeting that's seasonal. Many people are inclusive by saying "Happy Holidays." It seems harmless and about as innocuous as any greeting you can give. Yet there are some who will sneer and get upset because you didn't say the exclusive "Merry Christmas." A local car dealership will give you a plastic sign for your lawn that has that greeting on it, explaining that it's the "reason for the season."

To those holiday snobs, I say that you need to get over yourselves. Guess what? As much as you'd like it to be so, you're not the only people out there and you aren't alone in your celebrations. By insisting that everyone bow to your whims, you tell the world that nobody's feelings are as important as yours. You are showing an arrogance and pride that seem to run counter to the teachings of Christ.

There is also the problem of whether or not Christmas should be celebrated in December. All indications are that if Jesus existed at all, he wasn't born in December but more likely in the spring or early summer. The date of December 25 was chosen in the 5th century AD as a means of co-opting the Roman holiday Saturnalia, the celebration of the unconquered sun. It was a common practice in the early church to take the pagan holidays and make them their own.

Almost every society throughout history has had some kind of solstice celebration, generally related to making sure the sun started turning back north after descending to its lowest point in the sky. This time of year is all about celebration.

So don't be a holiday snob. When someone tells you "Happy Holidays," be gracious and greet the other person in kind.

Happy holidays.

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