Have you noticed that “Christmas” seems more a taboo word than ever this year? Why is it okay to name other holidays around this time of year, but Christmas has to become “holiday” even when we all know we really mean “Christmas”? I get depressed when I buy a box of cake mix that has red and green sprinkles and green frosting with Christmas trees and red sprinkles and it is called “Holiday” cake mix. We all know we mean Christmas. If I were making a cake for, say, Hanukkah, I doubt I’d pick up the red and green box, so let’s just call things what they are. It bothered my son so much that he took a Sharpie marker and crossed out “Holiday” and wrote “Christmas” on the cake mix box and frosting tub sitting on my kitchen counter.
Yesterday I was in the grocery store across the street, and in the bakery section there is a table with blue and white cakes and cookies and breads with a pretty blue balloon cheerfully wishing us a Happy Hanukkah. Cool, they didn’t say “Happy Holidays,” I thought. Then I saw the table next to it with red and green cookies, cakes, etc. and a covered dish with samples and a note that said, “Holiday cake…please taste a sample.” Also cheerful, but, in my opinion quite hypocritical. Why is it okay to actually say, “Hanukkah,” but on the next table where we all know the red and green signify Christmas, we have to say “Holiday” lest anyone might just be offended. I am not offended by the word, “Hanukkah,” so why is everyone so afraid to say the word, “Christmas”? If you are going to name one holiday, just bite the bullet and acknowledge all of them. If you can’t name one, don’t name any of them. To me, to name one but call the other “Holiday” even though we all know what that euphemistically means actually draws more attention to it rather than less. It just comes across as odd and overly sensitive.
I’ll tell you why people are so skittish about “Christmas” and not any of the other “holidays”. It’s because once you acknowledge Christmas you start thinking about the Christ of Christmas and Jesus Himself told us that one cannot be on the fence about Him. You’re either with Him or against Him, and I believe that deep down inside of us, we all have a sense of that, whether we consciously acknowledge it or not (Romans 1). So, the world has a vested interested in forgetting, pushing aside, ignoring the real reason for the celebration of Christmas.
I know that many people don’t celebrate Christmas, and many who do celebrate it do so in such a secularized, Santa-worshipping way that it isn’t really Christmas anymore anyhow, so really to get bent out of shape about whether people say the word “Christmas” at all is kind of like swatting at a pesky fly. The secularized celebration probably is better suited as “Happy Holidays” anyhow, because it has nothing to do with Christ anymore. For example, I found the movie, The Polar Express, to be very depressing. If that’s all there is to Christmas, no wonder so many people are depressed at this time of year. For me, Christmas is about worship, but for many, many people today it isn’t at all. I get depressed watching secular Christmas shows where much is made of the decorations and Santa and presents and all that part of Christmas, but the majesty and wonder of the real reason we have to celebrate is completely forgotten. This is one reason we don’t “Santa” at our house. Not because we think it is bad or wrong, but because I just don’t see the point in focusing on the fairy tale when we have something so much better and so much more exciting to talk about!
And that, my friends, is why people are afraid of the word “Christmas” and feel such a compulsion to change it to “Holiday” in order to take out the offense. Because it is real. The One we worship at Christmas is real, and holy, and He commands our attention and repentance and worship. Because Christmas does not stop at the manger but goes all the way to the cross and the empty tomb. The cross is the reason the manger happened. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Every eye will look on Him, and there will be no denying then Who He is and that He is absolutely worthy of worship. And because of that, the world system will continue to try to deny and suppress the knowledge of God that is evident, and we will continue to hear “Happy Holidays” when we really mean “Merry Christmas.” So, I don’t get all bent out of shape about “Happy Holidays,” or make a stink about it or an issue of it, or even get in anyone's face with a snarky "Merry Christmas" when they insist on the less offensive greeting, but I do find it extremely hypocritical and annoying, all the same.
Merry Christmas, ya’ll.