Last week, I was at my favorite grocery store in the greater Fort Wayne area. As the cashier and I were wrapping up our interaction, I told her to have an excellent afternoon. She replied, “Thanks! You too! And, have a happy, uh, merry, uh, whatever.”
As she struggled to find the appropriate seasonal best wishes, I found myself thinking about how we often fight the wrong fights. She was probably a little stressed out because she’s probably had customers give her an earful about the appropriate season greeting.
We Christians love to get all riled up about “keeping Christ in Christmas”…which often means making sure that people spell out “Christmas” and don’t use the “Xmas” abbreviation. We also want to make sure that the cashiers and greeters at the mega-box consumeristic epicenters (you know, Walmart, Target, Meijer, etc) wish us a “Merry Christmas” as we celebrate the birth of a God that called us to love our neighbors, love our enemies, and care for the least & the last among us by purchasing ridiculously expensive gifts for our loved ones who don’t need them because “Happy Holidays” is so offensive. This year, residents of a small town in Indiana have gone a step further and are focusing on what tops the town holiday tree.
The most aggravating part of all of these “little battles” is the fact that some view this as religious persecution! Listen, someone pleasantly wishing you a “Happy Holidays” instead of saying, “Merry Christmas” is not religious persecution. It’s someone being kind. To even hint that any of this is close to persecution is offensive.
Don’t we have better things to worry about? When God sent Jesus to earth, do you think God was hoping that we would fight this battle?
I’m just not that convinced that on judgment day whether we said “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or used an “X” or had a cross, star, angel, or oddly shaped sculpture atop our tree will matter as much as whether or not we were generous, kind, patient, gentle, loving, gracious, merciful, and forgiving. I have a hard time picturing God gazing down upon us from the heavenly realm and thinking, “Oh no, she just said ‘happy holidays’. Oh no, their Christmas tree topper doesn’t have Christian significance. Oh no, he wrote ‘Merry Xmas’.Oh no, he didn’t join the fight to keep the cross on top of that tree.”
Maybe, just maybe, we are fighting the wrong fight.
Maybe the “X” isn’t an abomination (click HERE for more on that).
Maybe saying “Happy Holidays” isn’t so terrible (click HERE for more on that).