As Christmas draws near, I start to feel extra warm fuzzies in the air. People seem friendlier, children are more respectful, and the season of giving is in full swing. That is, until I hear on the radio the story about the Salvation Army bell ringer who was assaulted for saying, “Happy holidays.”
I’ll post a link to the story below, but the gist is that the female bell ringer (who, might I remind you, is a volunteer) reportedly said “Happy holidays.” to a woman entering Wal-Mart. The woman turned to her and said, “You’re supposed to say ‘Merry Christmas’!” and hit her in the arm. Now this floors me. I am not sure of the aggressor’s religious affiliation, but it stands to reason that she may consider herself a Christian. As a Christian myself, I consider this behavior to be up there on my list of non-Christian conduct. Jesus is all about love, forgiveness, and righteousness. As far as I can tell, hitting a volunteer who stands out in the cold for hours to raise money for needy families seems incongruous. Perhaps the bell ringer was referring to Christmas and New Year’s. Perhaps not. I have not read reports that the volunteer was grievously injured, but that isn’t really the point.
When exactly did this season’s salutations become “Christians vs. Non-Christians?” I do not find it offensive when people say “Happy Holidays.” Simultaneously, I also do not agree with those who think “Merry Christmas” shouldn’t be uttered. If a person celebrates Hanukkah or any other religious celebration, they should feel free to use that term. This should include Christmas as well.
Whatever you may or may not be celebrating, I suggest a humble attitude. Remember that Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace. That is so much more attractive than hostility.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for ALL the people.'” Luke 2:10 (emphasis mine).
What do you think? Are people overly sensitive about the use of the terms “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas?” Or do you also take that stance? Leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.