A Holiday Herring

 (my thoughts on a topic of the day)

This year we have had much discussion of the so called campaign for the removal of Christ from Christmas.  Talking heads like O’rielly have fanned the flames with a lot of light weight discussion (although loud) about how there is a movement that wants to ban the expression “Merry Christmas” for the more generic expression “Happy Holidays.”  He even makes the bizarre and rather humorless argument that this some how denigrates the great values of the USA.

 Like most topics, Bill is ignorant of the fundamentals on this one as well.  The salutation “Merry Christmas” or “Have a Merry Christmas” is nothing more than an expression of good will for the up coming holiday.  It has no more meaning and no less meaning than Happy Holidays.  Let’s go off topic for a moment.  I was raised Catholic.  Yet I can clearly wish Happy Hanukah to my Jewish friends with respect.  I am just saying, “I know you have a holiday coming up and I hope you enjoy it.”

 Now, coming back on topic, we have a holiday called Christmas.  It has a dual role.  It is a Christian Holiday recognizing the birth of an historical figure born a couple of thousand years ago.  Secondly, it is a secular holiday recognized by our Federal Government.  This role as a federal holiday came about some hundred or so years after the country was founded.  It was sort of a d facto decree to prevent economic chaos as most people were off celebrating rather than working anyway.

 So, when I wish someone a Merry Christmas, that person has no right to read anything more into the expression than “I know you have a holiday coming up and I hope you enjoy it.”  They cannot infer what my faith, if any, is.  Moreover, they cannot infer that I somehow buy into all of the various beliefs, rituals, and myths that many associate with the religious version(s) of the holiday.  Indeed, there is such a smorgasbord of ideas here that such an assumption would be truly presumptuous.  Nor, is it appropriate to challenge my use of the expression for this is a judgment to which they are not entitled.

 Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays – a red herring that need not mar the enjoyment of this day.

Merry Christmas--

and I hope you have a VERY Happy Holiday!!


Dave 28 December 2005