There is now a facebook group, “I don’t care if it offends you, I’m saying MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!”
Merry Christmas used to be a greeting of good will. It meant, I am happy that you survived the year, have a nice holiday. It was not an in your face gesture, designed to express a religious opinion.
Christmas used to be a time of peace on earth and good will towards men. There were parties, gift giving, and holiday time from school and work. The religious part has always been there, but if you wanted to ignore it you could.
Now, the Jesus Worshipers want it all. The fact that our culture is dominated by Jesus worship is not good enough, they want it all. And they don’t care if it offends you. Peace on earth and good will towards men are for weaklings.
We don’t know when Jesus was born. Some scholars say he was born in the spring, but it was a long, long time ago. When the early Christians were trying to convert the Romans, they decided to have a birthday celebration for Jesus at the time of a pagan holiday. It is the winter solstice, the time of renewal at the end of the year. It is an ideal time for a religious feast.
Many people, PG included, have been hurt by Jesus. Jesus worship is an aggressive religion, and if you don’t agree, you can expect to be insulted and humiliated. As society becomes more and more secular, the Jesus worshipers get more aggressive. Many people have come to see the birth of Jesus as something to be mourned, rather than celebrated.
PG used to enjoy saying Merry Christmas. To him, it was a greeting of good will. Now, it is taking sides in a nasty fight. Maybe the proper thing to say is have a nice day.
And now for something completely different. PG found this recently, and it is not original to him. If you really need a link to the original, we will look harder.
When I was young and impressionable, I heard the Co-Adjutor Archbishop of Bombay preach on the subject of Christmas.
He made the point that the adjective “merry” actually means “to be showing the influence of alcohol”, that is to be at least partially drunk. So to wish someone a Merry Christmas is really to wish them a Drunken Christmas.
And he went on to point out that as drunkenness is a sin, and moreover it is illegal to ply an infant with alcohol, a “merry Christmas” not only treats the birth of Christ as an occasion for sin, it also excludes the guest of honour Himself from the celebration.
That is a perversion of the meaning of Christmas — yet how often do we hear “true Christians” insist on saying “merry Christmas”? Why don’t they just wish the world happiness and joy?
While trying to find the source of the above merry quote, this popped up. Some times a full length quote is the way to go.
It’s hilariously ironic that Boggs would use a Christmas tree as a means of combating the “war on Christmas.” After all, the Christmas tree has distinctly pagan roots and stands mostly outside of Christian tradition. Indeed, there was a time when Christmas itself was a controversial subject among Christians, many of whom wanted nothing to do with a celebration that hearkened back to the pagan festivals of old (if we’re going for accuracy, the Persian god “Mithras” is the real reason for the season). If anything, Ms. Bogg’s Christmas tree has the opposite effect: it reminds me that early Christians were a fairly opportunistic bunch, and would happily co-opt pagan celebrations if it meant that they could save a few souls (see: Easter).
That aside, the yearly outrage over the “war on Christmas” reminds me of one of the things that really bothers me about contemporary conservative evangelicalism, namely, it’s tremendous hostility to religious pluralism. “Happy Holidays” is a fundamentally inclusive greeting. It’s a way of respecting non-Christian Americans and acknowledging the fact Christmas coincides with other religious holidays equally worthy of respect (like Hanukkah, for instance). When someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” they are saying something roughly the same as this: “I’m not sure what your religious beliefs are, but whatever they are, I hope you enjoy the holiday season as much as possible.”
This is the furthest thing from “offensive” that I can imagine, and yet, there are many Christians who are apoplectic about the change. From what I can gather, the offense comes from the fact that they have to share the holiday. It’s not enough that Christmas and Christianity are in every other way privileged above other religious celebrations, no, we have to actively avoid acknowledging the existence of other religions. “Religious freedom” for them isn’t the right to practice as they see fit, it’s the “right” to banish every other religion from the public square, or something to that effect. It probably isn’t my place to say this (since I’m not the ultimate arbiter of right belief, or something), but the stunning lack of charity and understanding inherent in this approach to other religions and other people strikes me as a pretty clear-cut example of what Jesus specifically asked us not to do.
This is a repost.
The pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.