A war on Christmas...really?


Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, both, or none, it is hard not to notice religion during this time of year. In fact, the so-called “war on Christmas” and the annual requests to “keep Christ in Christmas” has become as much of a holiday tradition as Santa Claus, Christmas trees and the Menorah. Regrettably, the holiday cheer is often combined with repeated arguments regarding “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays.” While I respect the tenacity of both sides, does it matter how we say it? What is most important is that we remember why we say it: the birth of Jesus. 

While I am confident that Jesus would appreciate the commotion surrounding His birthday, I think He would not be concerned about the words or phrases used to celebrate His special day, as long as the message is about love, forgiveness and compassion. I also believe Jesus would be saddened with the commercialization of His birthday. Of course, there is beauty, truth, and joy during the festivities of Jesus’s birth, but I humbly suggest that much of it is concealed beneath the thick layers of wish lists, materialism and all-night retail extravaganzas. Therefore, for some of us Christians defending Jesus’s celebration by reminding others to “keep Christ in Christmas” can appear hypocritical, if our actions do not mirror our words.

Nevertheless, if we want to “keep Christ in Christmas,” I suggest the best way to accomplish this goal is to model Christ-like behavior. In other words, we should allow the happiness of the season to show in how we live our life. In Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," Ebenezer Scrooge pursues a personal war on Christmas. His nephew feels the impact of his uncle’s attacks year after year, but it does not stop him from wishing his humbug of an uncle a Merry Christmas and inviting Scrooge to Christmas dinner. Whether someone wishes us a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, or Season’s Greetings, let us find enjoyment and pleasure in his or her well wishes.

In closing, I am reminded that faith makes all things possible. Hope makes all things work. Love makes all things beautiful. May you have all three during the most wonderful time of the year!

Merry Christmas,

Harry Pappas Jr.