Saturday, December 24, 2016

'Happy Holidays' flap is a snowflake issue
I’m a fan of Christmas. I am a Christian and I celebrate the holiday as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who I believe is the Son of God. Even though I joyfully celebrate Christmas, I recognize that not everyone does. For that reason, I’m not concerned in the least about the “Happy Holidays” controversy that erupts every year.

Every year there is a wave of indignant posts on social media where people denounce the phrase “Happy Holidays” as an assault on the Christian message of Christmas. People often take the greeting, as well as many other trivial matters such as a redesign of the Starbucks holiday coffee cup, as attacks on the Christian religion and react with anger and hostility.

Christmas greetings even became a political issue when Donald Trump vowed last year, “If I become president, we're gonna [sic] be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store ... You can leave happy holidays at the corner.”

I’m not offended when someone tells me “Happy Holidays.” Christmas is a holiday and is included in that greeting. The phrase doesn’t exclude Christmas. Rather it includes New Year’s Day, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and probably even Festivus. The phrase is simply a recognition that there are other holidays that occur within the December time frame and bundles them into one greeting. It also has the advantage of being easier to say than “Happy Merry Christmahanakwanzika.” Stores often use “Happy Holidays” because not all their customers celebrate Christmas and it is poor marketing to alienate and offend your customers.

More and more, the flap over saying “Happy Holidays” seems to be a snowflake issue. By that, I don’t mean a winter precipitation problem, but an issue similar to the liberal faux outrages by those sensitive souls derided as “snowflakes.” These universally offended types find something to be outraged about in everything and it seems that many conservatives are taking a cue from this behavior on several issues. Christmas is one example.

Why do conservative Christians feel offended when some people choose not to say “Merry Christmas?” Christianity is a voluntary religion. People have to choose to accept Christ. Belief in Christ and repentance cannot be forced. Isn’t it equally futile to try to force people to pay homage to Christ by saying “Merry Christmas” when they don’t want to?

The United States has freedom of religion. People should be free to celebrate and say, “Merry Christmas,” but they should also be equally free to say “Happy Holidays.” The government has no constitutional role in determining appropriate holiday greetings.

There is a real war on Christmas in some quarters. Bans on nativity scenes, Christmas trees and banning “Merry Christmas” are clearly wrong and, to use the liberal phrase, intolerant. There are attempts by some to turn Christmas into a “winter break.” These attempts should be resisted and haven’t been widespread for the most part. How many of us have personally been involved in such an attack on Christmas? Not me. I’ve only read of them in the outrage media.

Saying “Happy Holidays” should not be considered an attempt to excise religion from the public square. The word “holiday” is actually derived from the Old English word for “holy day.” When someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” they are actually telling you to have a good holy day. Christmas, along with Easter Sunday, is one of the most holy of holy days for Christians.

To take the matter a step further, even the word “X-mas” is not an attack on Christmas. The “x” is not crossing “Christ” out of Christmas, according to students of the Greek language and theology. The “x” is actually shorthand for a Greek word meaning “Christ” that starts with the Greek letter “Chi,” which looks the same as our “x.” Far from being a modern invention, the shorthand has been in use for over a thousand years.

For snowflakes who do get hot and bothered when someone tells them “Happy Holidays,” there is a simple solution. My response when someone gives me the controversial phrase is to give them a big smile and say, “Merry Christmas” in a friendly way. Often they’ll respond back with “Merry Christmas” as well. This technique even worked before Trump won the election.

Don’t be a snowflake. Let’s focus on important issues and not trivialities.

Originally published on The Resurgent

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