In 2009, President and Mrs. Obama broke with a longstanding tradition by announcing that the White House holiday card would expressly omit any mention of Christmas or of Jesus’ birth. Merry Christmas was replaced by Happy Holidays on cards sent out from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The growing trend to omit the mention of Christmas from the holiday’s celebration has been steadily creeping into the culture of our nation. Merry Christmas critics are quick to point out that Happy Holidays is much more inclusive of the other holiday observances taking place in December namely, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
What’s so interesting though is that nobody seems to have a problem with Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa greetings or displays, only with Merry Christmas. Clearly, there’s a definite bias against Christmas. Christmas symbols, like the nativity, have come under attack by anti-Christmas groups, and in a few cases, the courts have declared them to be illegal in public places in some communities. No such attacks have come against Hanukkah or Kwanzaa symbols. It’s OK to trim the Christmas tree and give gifts as long as there’s no mention of Jesus Christ. And like the Presidential holiday card, many people send out greeting cards full of holiday cheer, but no mention of the real joy that came into the world with Christ’s birth.
The proclamation of Jesus’ birth must not end with the shepherds. Those who follow the Christ of Christmas must proclaim this gospel message until the day that Christ returns. Christians have an obligation, in spite of the criticism, to declare the real reason for the Christmas season, which is that Christ came into the world to save sinners. The shepherds left their sheep, probably lost their jobs to spread the good news of Christ’s coming. These words—
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
—still have power to change lives in any season. This is the hallmark of the Christmas message to be shared with a world searching for peace.
Stand up for Christmas. If someone says, Happy Holidays it’s their right, but it’s also your right to respond with Have a blessed Christmas or Merry Christmas. This Christmas, before opening gifts, read the biblical account of Christ’s birth in the Gospels. And may this Christmas season be as the angels proclaimed long ago in Bethlehem—
Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.
Note: This author is a Christian who believes in saying, “Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanzaa.”