The holiday season is here
Here we go…. We have now “officially” entered “the holiday season.” Thanksgiving is past, Black Friday has come and gone, cyber-Monday is also over and we are moving full-steam ahead into Christmas and the New Year. I cannot believe it’s that time of the year already. My how time flies the older we get.
So…as last year…let me be one of the first to wish you a “Merry Christmas.” Yes, you read it right. “Merry Christmas.” Not “Happy Holidays” or “Winter Cheer” or anything else that our world so desperately tries to come up with to get our attention away from the real reason for the season. Believe it or not, Christmas is and has been for over 2,000 years, a time when we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. It has been that way for all of these years and it will be that way until the end of the world. And it doesn’t matter what anyone tries to say, it does not change the fact that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. You cannot even spell Christmas without Christ.
So why is it that our society attempts to stamp out the real meaning of Christmas? Well…it’s because our nation is no longer a Christian nation. You heard me right. It is not.
If it were, many things would be different right now. But surveys and polls show that about 48 percent of Americans call ourselves Christians. We are now the minority. And that is why we have such a difficult time promoting our Christian values, especially during this time of the year.
What’s wrong with saying, “Merry Christmas?” When I was growing up, that was the only thing we said. But in the last few years, the shift has been to say “Happy Holidays” instead.
Now, if you want to have a Happy Hanukkah, I’m OK with that. If, as a Jew, you want to celebrate Chanukah or as a Mexican you want to celebrate Las Posadas or you live in Europe and want to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day or you are African-American and want to celebrate Kwanzaa, I am OK with all of that.
I’ll wish you a Happy Hanukkah or a Happy Las Posadas or Happy Kwanzaa, and you wish me “Merry Christmas.” That’s pretty easy, isn’t it? Why should I be asked to be tolerant to what you believe when you are not tolerant to what I believe? It’s your right to believe what you want, and… it’s my right to believe what I want. If you want to hang the Star of David on your home, I should have the same right to set up a nativity scene without having to worry about it being destroyed or stolen.
What has America come to? Someone asked the question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” And I’m OK with that. I know what I believe, I am comfortable with what I believe and if you are comfortable with what you believe, let’s celebrate our beliefs and live together in peace. Amen. Shalom. Or, as John Lennon would say, “Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.”
This Christmas season, treat others as you would have them treat you. Respect them for their beliefs and maybe…just maybe…they will respect you for what you believe. Merry Christmas.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at (740) 852-7800, e-mail him at email@example.com or at their website www.3c-church.org.