Let me paint you a picture.
This afternoon, I went to the post office to pick up a registered package. I signed for it, thanked the Post Mistress, and cheerfully wished her Happy Holidays. That’s right. I said Happy Holidays. There was an akward pause before she replied Merry Christmas, in the tone of voice you use with a child who has mistankenly said skabetti, instead of spaghetti.
I can see some of you now. You’ve sharply drawn in your breath, and now you’re shaking your head. Perhaps you’re even feeling a little righteous indignation. I thought she was a Christian. What a shame.
I am not perfect, but I am a Christian. I wasn’t trying to deny Christ. I was simply acting out of habit. You see, I remember a time when Happy Holidays meant only Happy Holidays. Rest assured, if I had meant only Merry Christmas, that’s what I would have said.
What I meant by Happy Holidays, which I start saying around mid-November, (or I did before politics made it a declaration of atheism) is Happy-Thanksgiving-Merry-Christmas-and-Happy-New-Year-I hope-you’ll-enjoy-your-family-and-eat-a-lot-of-pie. Until a couple years ago, I thought that’s what everyone meant. Somehow Happy Holidays is easier to get out. ( I’m fully aware that there’s another argument to be had here, regarding intent, and the road to hell. I will be happy to have your thoughts in the comments section.)
Judge me for being naive if you must, but where I grew up, everyone is a Christian, in name at least. In my rather narrow view it never would have occured to me in a million years that anyone meant to deny Christ, or pussy-foot around someone faith, by saying Happy Holidays.
What a sad world we live in where, because we are all so keen to judge one another, we hesitate to give a whole hearted greeting, instead stumbling on our words, or perhaps saying nothing at all, lest the recipient assume we are pagan if it comes out wrong. Can we dispense with the politics for just a moment, and be glad someone wished us well, no matter the season?
Please, if I forget myself and wish you Happy Holidays, understand I am not denying Christ, I’m merely acknowledging New Years.