I’m bracing myself for the inevitable onslaught. I know it’s coming, just as it does every year. It begins the moment the first person utters those two simple, little words: “Happy Holidays!”
And then the sparks fly.
One would think, given the sentiment behind the words and the fact that they are generally accompanied by a smile, that all would be well. But, no. People seem to have developed multiple responses to the greeting:
- Politely and happily returning the greeting
- Smiling stiffly and begrudgingly returning the greeting
- Responding emphatically with the holiday greeting of choice, as if to educate the speaker to the proper words to be spoken
- Complaining loudly to family and friends either that:
- we’ve forgotten the reason for the season or
- it’s just one more thing about which we need to be politically correct
Now, I don’t honestly know if people of other faiths have as many issues with the “Happy Holidays!” greeting as people of my own faith seem to exhibit. But, as Christians, we seem to be exceedingly inflexible. So, as a Christian, I suggest the following possible responses for people who only want to hear “Merry Christmas” as December 25 draws near:
- Lighten up!
- Put things in perspective
- Remember that cashiers must follow store policy, which may dictate that “Happy Holidays!” is the greeting they use.
- Approximately 32% of the world’s population is Christian. No one person can look at another person and know if that person is a part of that 32%.
- Acknowledge that not all Christians celebrate Christmas. And some who do do not celebrate it on December 25.
- Refuse to be offended. There are so many things in life that are offensive. Violence. Hunger. Suffering. Pain. The list is endless. If someone is doing their very best to be inoffensive, kind, friendly, warm, and hospitable and you just don’t like the particular words they choose, consider that may be your issue, rather than theirs.
- Recognize that the word “holiday” means “holy day, thus acknowledging this sacred moment in time.
- And, above all else, for those of us who are celebrating the birth of God’s Son, the Prince of Peace, we should remain joyful, unflappable, filled with that blessed peace. ‘Tis the season, after all.