Nena Arias | December 23, 2019
As long as I can remember, saying “Merry Christmas” was always a delightful thing to do during the Christmas season. It was a common practice to wish everyone that crossed your path at that time of the year. It somehow connected even among perfect strangers. It added so much to the taste, sights and sounds of the season and most of us looked forward to this time of year.
As the culture war has intensified in the last couple of decades, saying “Merry Christmas” has become a dangerous thing to do. Recently, in an interview with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch where he dared to greet the host by saying “Merry Christmas” and you would have thought he threatened to assassinate someone by the way the mainstream media criticized him for doing that.
Why the hostility? Because hostility has always been characteristic of the God-haters in any society. America used to be the freest nation in all of human history, thanks to the message and advent of Christmas, but that freedom is only a wishful thought as of late. The God-haters have not only multiplied but they are now in positions of power and in very visible and loud platforms like in the media. They never miss a chance to make their beliefs known and heard and shoved down our throats.
The origin of this practice is a little obscure and the history is varied. However, it’s believed that an English admiral first used the term Merry Christmas in an informal letter, way back in 1699. Also, about that time, the phrase was used in a non-religious Christmas song ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’, which is still popular today.
Throughout centuries the phrase “Merry Christmas” has become an instant hit for Christmas Greetings all around the world! Modern greeting cards for the season offer a variety of holiday greetings, but Merry Christmas is still among the most popular.
What do people mean when they use the expression?
The term Merry is used instead of Happy to signify the joyousness of the holiday. Merry Christmas reflects the messages of love, joy and well wishes that people want all to experience regardless of belief systems. It’s a greeting that makes total strangers make an instant connection.
The Christmas message of Christ coming to earth to reconcile us to God and man, impacted the world in such a way that even those who don’t believe in God or in Christ are inclined to celebrate his birth. Even atheist Dan Barker, co-president of the toxic, Freedom From Religion Foundation, was being interviewed in his home a few years back and in the background was a fully decorated Christmas tree, which caught the interviewer’s attention and he asked a very pointed question. He asked Barker, if you don’t believe in God, why do you have a fully decorated Christmas tree in your home? Barker’s flimsy answer was that it was just part of the fun of the season or something lame like that. You see, all arguments against God fall by their own weight of falsehood sooner or later because his truth never dies, no matter how fierce the attacks against it. It will always spring forth in the course of human events. God sees to that.
The message of Christmas destroys the works of the devil and dissolves anger and hostilities among humans. Its message evaporates misunderstanding between loved ones and creates new bridges to renew relationships. It’s amazing that these two simple words “Merry Christmas” can have this amazing and enduring effect. And as you can see, supplanting “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holiday” just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t feel right because the message of Christmas can never be substituted.
There is no doubt about the intentions when we say “Merry Christmas”, so, let’s keep the flame of the Christmas message alive in our hearts and our surroundings to spread the original message the angels gave, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth goodwill to men.”
Merry Christmas, everyone!