Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

December 25, 2011


Be Merry Because Christmas Is Included In Our Happy Holidays


       Our culture is constantly changing. One current example is the way “Merry Christmas” is being replaced by the words “Happy Holidays.” Political correctness is the culprit. We must not offend non-Christians by using a term that reminds people that Christmas is the birthday of Jesus.

       Most merchants seem willing to embrace the change. They have to sell their wares to make a living and a dollar is a dollar. A non-Christian’s money is as welcome as that of a Christian. Economically that is quite understandable.

       The politically correct zealots have a major problem and that is the word “Christmas.” I understand why they want to supplant it with the word “holidays.” The difficulty is that the word “Christmas” has the word “Christ” in it. So whether you are an atheist, a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim, when you see the word “Christmas” you are confronted with the word “Christ.” There is no way to avoid him.

       The word “holidays” is bland; it offends no one. And “merry” had to be replaced also; the words “Merry Holidays” would have reminded people of “Merry Christmas” thus defeating the reason for the change of terms. “Happy” was a logical substitute because everyone wants to be “happy” especially in this season when buying things helps us honor “jolly old Saint Nick.”

       Christians need not fret this cultural change. We can still be merry because Christmas is still including in our “happy holidays.” Christmas remains a national holiday in America. And the word itself reminds us of its origin. The word comes from two old English words, “Cristes Maesse,” which means “Mass of Christ.” The word “Mass” is another word for the celebration of Holy Communion or what the church calls the Eucharist. The joining of the words “Christ” and “Mass” then gives us the now popular word “Christmas.”

       Obviously Christmas has many different meanings in our society. For some the focus is on Santa, food and gifts. Even a tree may now be a “holiday” tree instead of a “Christmas tree.” Gifts may be happily exchanged around a tree on Christmas morning without any reference to Jesus. Such a gathering may have rich meaning for a family even if Christ is not mentioned.

       Faith is the key that unlocks the deeper meanings of Christmas. Faith reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world as we enjoy the marvelous lights of this season. Faith prompts us to give not merely to family and friends but the needy in our midst. Faith moves us to celebrate not only the birth but the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus as we share in Holy Communion. Faith enables us to embrace dear old Santa Claus with a smile but to fall on our knees in joyous celebration that because God loves us he chose to become flesh in that Bethlehem manger long ago. Glory! Merry Christmas! + + +