How Saying “Merry Christmas” Turned into a Swear Word

I was chatting with the free sample guy at Meijer the other day, getting some godsend cups of red velvet cake that enabled my 2-year-old and 4-year-old to make it through the rest of the grocery run.  After we got done asking each other about our kids and discussing the miraculous power of red velvet cake to brighten a child’s mood, I said my goodbye and he replied, “Happy Holidays.”

“Merry Christmas,” I smiled.  Not in a corrective or defensive way, just in a natural, I like Christmas, love Jesus, and would rather be personal than vague way.

The man’s eyes glanced left, then right.  “Merry Christmas,” he said.  It honestly felt like some 1st century Church encounter where to reveal your faith in Jesus meant you could be killed by the Roman government.

I’m not allowed to say ‘Merry Christmas…’, I was trained not to, I might even get fired!  But this guy seems safe…I don’t think he’s an undercover agent…here goes nothing… “Merry Christmas.”

How did things get this way?

I’m not being nostalgic.

Nor am I saying everyone must be forced to say “Merry Christmas,” whether they believe in Jesus or not.

jesus merry christmas I’m saying if someone believes in Jesus (or they just like Christmas), they should be able to say “Merry Christmas” without people being offended by it.  Saying “Merry Christmas” is not forcing Jesus down someone’s throat or telling them they must celebrate Christmas rather than Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or nothing, it is simply saying I celebrate Christmas, it makes me merry, and I wish you this same merriness.  December 25th is Christmas to me so I’m going to wish you a merry December 25th whatever you might be doing on that day, as it is a day when I will be merry, and I’d like you to be too.  Merry Christmas.” 

Someone who is happy about Hanukkah should not say “Happy Holidays,” they should say “Happy Hanukkah!” for the same reason.  December is Hanukkah season to them, they should be able to wish their happiness onto others freely.

This is part of what’s great about being human.  We get to wish our happiness and merriment onto others.

The taboo of saying “Merry Christmas” is another fruit of pluralism and political correctness in action.  Pluralism wants you to believe in everything, which is the near equivalent of believing in nothing.  Or, if you are audacious enough to believe something, don’t you dare tell anyone about it.  No one will be mature enough to handle what you believe, so keep your mouth shut.  We can’t dare believe in different things and openly discuss them.

Don’t you see how un-American this is?  (As well as un-educational?)  This is in fact the opposite of freedom of speech.  Freedom of speech (and freedom of religion for that matter) says we believe we are a mature enough society that a person can actually believe something (e.g. the sky is blue) and be able to say it out loud.  A difference in opinion or viewpoint should not be censored, it should be expected and on a societal level, welcomed.

Saying “Happy Holidays” is the same as saying “Happy Nothing.”  And that is not happy, it is actually quite sad.

So Merry Christmas.  Christmas rocks.  Jesus rocks.  Jesus’s love and grace rock.  It makes me merry.  If you don’t like that about my life, what’s your problem?  I’m not shoving anything down your throat, I’m simply celebrating life.  When did we become a country where we can no longer celebrate and no other wish good things and good feelings upon other people?

And yes I know, all Meijer really cares about is selling red velvet cakes.  And if their free sample guy tells me “Merry Christmas” I might not buy that cake and I might go shop at Kroger instead.  That too is quite sad.

Let’s not be sad this December, let’s be merry.

If you don’t believe in anything, that’s fine.  But please let me believe in something.  I promise you we can co-exist together (do you see what I did there?).

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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4 responses to How Saying “Merry Christmas” Turned into a Swear Word

  1. Thank you for this article, Pastor Noah. I would also add that, as a devout, Jesus- following, Christmas-loving Christian, I’d like to be able to say, “Happy holidays” without feeling like I’m taking my Lord out of the season or conforming to that which is deemed as socially acceptable. Am I a lukewarm Christian when I skip through the house singing Jingle Bells instead of Come Let Us Adore Him? Perhaps you get the point. Because Merry Christmas has become a swear word in the secular world, it stands to reason that Happy Holidays is a no-no in Christian circles. It’s silliness. Let us all celebrate the wonderful gift of grace together!

    • Hi Patty, thanks for your comment. Sorry I’m so late in replying. I’ve never been one who has had a problem with Santa Clause or the Jingle Bell type songs. I just realized for maybe the first time this year that it wasn’t just that all forms of expression were okay at Christmas, but rather than all expressions being accepted, my specific expression was being seen as taboo.

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