It’s the evening of November 25 as I write this, and what is the significance of that? It’s Christmas Day in 30 days from today. Yes, that’s right, CHRISTMAS DAY.
Today’s modern society is either afraid or ashamed to say Christmas. Yet retailers depend on this time to get their books into the black after being in the red all year. Hence, Black Friday. And this year, because Hanukkah is so early, the Christmas sales will really be the sole driver of the “holiday” shopping season.
When you hear the word “holiday”, which holiday comes to mind? Fourth of July? Martin Luther King day? How about Valentine’s Day? Or, why not Fathers Day? These are all holidays of a sort, after all.
Let’s face it, friends. It’s the Christmas shopping season. What else are we shopping for? Beethoven’s birthday on the 16th? I don’t think so!! We are shopping to give our loved ones CHRISTMAS presents, not holiday presents, right?
So then, why are we afraid to say CHRISTMAS? Is it because there is the religious implication? It is the day we, as Christians, celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday. You know, Christ’s mass. And for my non-Christian followers, it’s ok to recognize the existence of Christ, the man. Just like Christians recognize Moses, Buddha, Muhammed, Vishnu, Confucius and so many other founders of great theological philosophies.
Christians carry on the tradition the Magi began, by bringing Jesus gifts which would symbolize his life and death; gold for royalty, frankincense for body fragrance and myrrh as an anointing oil. Today, of course, we give none of that. I mean, myrrh? What would we do wit that? Instead, we give DVDs, CDs, clothes, toys, romantic gifts to loved ones and friendship gifts to acquaintances. We love to give.
To sum up. It’s really ok to say Christmas. The PC police can’t prevent you from saying it. Even our Federal government recognizes Christmas as the legal name for this day. We don’t say “Mithras Day” even though it’s his birthday, too, according to the ancient Roman calendar. The legal holiday is Christmas, since the mid-1800s.
So, friends, there is no need the cringe when someone wishes you a “Merry Christmas”. It isn’t so greeting to prothelysize you or convert you to the dreaded (?) faith. Instead, you can take it as a warm greeting of joy and friendship, much like the man who gave the name to us. And, quite frankly, Jesus Christ, as a Jewish carpenter, was probably known as Joshua Bar Joseph, which meant he had a traditional Jewish name and upbringing. His name is a cacophony of Latin and Greek, Joshua becoming Jesus and Christ as the anointed one. His divinity is accepted only by Christians, but his human attributes of kindness, warmth and understanding of his contemporaries’ feelings should be society’s guiding principles.
Let me be one if the first, if not the first, to wish you and your loved ones a Very Merry Christmas. I will take your greeting back into my heart and cherish it always.