As usual, I'm the gal with more questions than answers. So here I am with some questions. Questions some may not care for. If you believe you fall into that category, feel free to stop reading here.
Questions like: Why are we, as Christians, so angry and mean when people wish us Happy Holidays? Why are we so over-the-top insistent that others MUST respond in kind to our well wishes of "Merry Christmas!?" All this War on Christmas stuff has seriously begun to just drive me bonkers.
Why do we expect people who don't know, don't love, don't care about and aren't interested in living their lives for Jesus the rest of the year, to suddenly ACT like they do during this time of year? Let's be honest: When we ourselves wish people at stores, in restaurants, at the bank, at our workplace or schools, in our neighborhoods a "Merry Christmas"....are we really talking about Christ's birthday (incidentally, the exact, honest-to-goodness date NO ONE really knows), are we really wishing them a truly joy-filled celebration of this special, holy day, or are we merely referring to the commercialized, Santa-driven, Ho-Ho-Ho-holiday?
C'mon now -- is THIS what Jesus meant by commanding us to share the 'Good News' with everyone? I doubt it.
We boycott stores who make their employees use the generic 'Happy Holidays' greeting, or who use it in their advertising, and encourage everyone in our like-minded little circle to do the same (ahhh, now THERE'S a loving, Christ-like thing to do). We slap those not quite so subtle, self-righteous bumper stickers onto the backs of our vehicles, letting every traveler behind us know that WE say 'Merry Christmas,' and if we offend you, well....too bad.
We sing songs with titles like 'Love Came Down At Christmas,' yet we're showing anything BUT love to those who do not, and, in the case of those whose jobs policy clearly states so, CANNOT wish us, the curmudgeonly consumer, a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Where's the love of Christ here, folks?
Growing up in the '60s, I remember going Christmas shopping with my mom and dad (because, yes, we celebrated Christmas), and having the salesclerks and cashiers wish them either a 'Merry Christmas' or 'Seasons Greetings.' I never recalled my mother getting offended and leaving the store in a huff, or dashing off angry letters to the editor or to local congressmen.
And while I'm on the subject -- I'm just wondering here....why am I not reading anything from the Jewish community about how they are up in arms because people are wishing them 'Happy Holidays?' Where are the 'WE say Happy Channukah!' bumper stickers and buttons?
Again -- these are merely the somewhat crazy musings that go through my oft overcrowded head on any given day. I'm, as they say, 'just sayin.'
Perhaps -- and this is just a humble suggestion -- the better thing for us to do during this most wonderful time of the year, as people who want the world to know that we live for and love Jesus Christ, is to stop worrying about people's choice of wording and just treat others with the love of Jesus:
- Smile and strike up a conversation with the bored-looking teen with multiple tattoos and body piercings and tri-colored hair, standing behind the register. It won't cost you a thing and you might be pleasantly surprised
- Offer to bring a hot cup of coffee or tea to the frozen looking Salvation Army volunteer who has been standing outside, ringing their bell in the cold for hours
- Look the tired and overwhelmed salesclerk in the eyes and ask them how they're doing -- and then really wait around for them to answer
- Let someone go ahead of you in line, especially if they have more items than they have hands
- When eating out, be sure to ask your waiter or waitress their name, if they don't tell you at the get-go; engage in actual conversation with them, not just the usual, "more coffee, please," and "you can bring the check now." And DO leave a generous tip, whether or not you believe they're in line for a 'Server of the Year' award. A bit of grace goes a long way. Make them look forward to having you come back, especially if you're a regular
- If you're the shy and silent type, anonymously pay for that fellow diner patron who sits at the counter, alone
- Smile and offer sincere thanks those who serve you and your family: from gas station attendants to Fed Ex delivery people; from your children's teachers to the guy down the street who shovels the snow off your sidewalk, free of charge and without your ever having to ask
I'm convinced if we slowed down, took the time and gave it some thought, we could come up with many more simple, yet sweet ideas for gift giving -- the gift of Christ's love to someone who we aren't sure has ever experienced it, through the Christmas season and beyond.
And for heaven's sake -- if you feel THAT irritated when someone wishes you 'Happy Holidays,' ask them what holiday they celebrate. If they say Christmas, say, "Hey, me, too!" If they say something else, wish them a Happy Whateveritis. It takes less than ten seconds (believe me, I know -- I've tried it and timed it). And don't take it personally if their response is less than merry or jolly. Once, I asked my doctor's receptionist what she celebrated. She glared at me and responded, "I don't celebrate ANYTHING." So I told her, "Well, Faith -- then have a wonderful day!" Faith's face softened a bit as she replied, "Thanks," and turned away.
In the Great Christmas War, love, mercy, grace and humility can be our strongest 'weapons.'
|'Every Knee Shall Bow,' by Gaye Frances Willard|
Christmas Eve, 2AM/Heavy snow is falling down/And the streets clothed in white/Echo songs that were sung by candlelight/We're alive/we can breathe/But do we really care for this world in need?/There's a choice we must make each and every day.....~ When Love Came Down, by Point of Grace