Syndicated columnist Betsy Hart writes about the holiday whose name we dare not speak—Christmas. I am so sick of “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings.” I don’t buy “holiday” gifts, I don’t send “holiday” cards, I don’t put up a “holiday” tree or “holiday” lights, I don’t play “holiday” music. What holiday?! Christmas, of course! Sometimes, it’s not even “holiday” season. In Pittsburgh, they call it “Sparkle” season. What the heck is that supposed to signify?
Betsy gives an example of how far the absurdity has gone:
In a current commercial for a pet store, a woman is “spoiling” her new puppy. She’s buying him all sorts of little doggie gifts. Her husband admonishes her, and her reply? But honey, “it’s his first holiday!”
First “holiday?” What, Halloween?
Why is it forbidden to say what holiday? Nobody seems to shy to mention Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even Eid or Yom Kippur. And in a weird twist, even Easter isn’t so loaded with circumlocutions.
I think it’s because Christmas has been co-opted. People who do not wish to be burdened by the demands that recognition of the birth of Christ places upon us still want the “tidings of joy” that the Advent and Christmas seasons give us. December is permanently imbued with a sense of happiness and goodwill that comes out of Christians’ joy at the birth of the Savior. Now, our secular society has done away with the Savior, but wants to keep the joy. The problem is that it’s like taking away the football game, but leaving the fans to cheer in the stands. It’s a hollow, empty, cheer.
I know it’s trite and a cliche, but it really is true: Jesus is the reason for the season. Without him it’s just so much play-acting and dress-up.
For the next six weeks, I will be aggressive in my Christmas and Advent joy. I will gladly let everyone know what season we are celebrating by wishing them a “Merry Christmas.” And my bet is that many people will find that a refreshing return to a custom they’re sad we lost.
Merry Christmas! Happy Advent!