I recently found a newsletter from a conservative political organization in my email inbox. After considering for a moment from what possible source the organization had collected my email address, I read through the opening article. It was a joyous shout out to the President-Elect, giving him the credit for doing away with political correctness and making it possible for Christians to once again say “Merry Christmas.”
Um, what? I must have missed the notice banning that phrase. I use it with confidence, among people who celebrate Christmas, especially on Christmas Day, itself. I also use “season’s greetings” and “happy holidays.” If I know what holiday, other than Christmas, an acquaintance celebrates, I offer my good wishes for that holiday. I do not consider this “political correctness,” and here’s why.
In the church calendar, Christmas is one day. One very important day, of course, but just one. The season leading up to it is Advent – four weeks of waiting and preparing our hearts. We light a candle each Sunday of Advent; the candles represent hope, joy, peace and love. These are the gifts Christ brings with Him, and they are bundled together in my mind when I say or write “season’s greetings.”
If we are supposed to show the love of Christ, why do we get bogged down in arguing about these words? All the holiday greetings, at their heart, are expressions of good will and joy. Yes, there are other holidays included in “happy holidays.” So what? When someone who celebrates a different winter holiday, or who celebrates Christmas secularly, wishes me happiness, I’m grateful. Their thoughtfulness does not diminish the importance of Christ to me, or in the world. When I wish non-Christians well, I am loving my neighbor; again, including whatever holiday they celebrate, by using a generic “happy holidays,” or even by specifically wishing them “happy solstice” (for example), does nothing do diminish Christ and the importance of His birth. In fact, by sharing these seasonal greetings, we increase the love, hope, peace and joy in the world. Politically correct or not, isn’t that a good thing?