There’s a lot of discussion this time of year, about companies who do not say “Merry Christmas,” and instead use some other saying like “Seasons Greetings.” As a Marketing professional who is a Born-Again Christian, I think Jesus Christ would still shop at retailers who choose to say terms like “Happy Holidays.” He might even stop for a Double Latte at Starbucks despite the plain red cup.
I understand the passion behind the opinions people have about all this, but the extremes of these passions are ridiculous. Some people chose to boycott and become down-right angry about the choice of nomenclature that describes the month of December. On the flip-side, the government and some retailers have gone to great lengths not to offend the loud minority with any observance of the Christian and American traditions that are a part of this Nation’s history. Both extremes seem misguided.
From a Marketing Guy’s Perspective
I worked as a marketing professional most of my career, I it was my job to find ways to connect with our markets. We worked hard to find the right message and images that would easily connect with the people who needed to hear it, and would be delivered in a away that the people are most likely to understand and act upon.
Our message needed to be brief and concise or we’d lose the attention of the receiver. So I can understand the desire to say “Happy Holidays” in a marketing message, in order to communicate good will to those who celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, with a tip of the hat to those who do not recognize any religion, but still love the fun of Christmas traditions in America.
Companies market to a variety of consumer groups at the same time, and because we have a few major holiday events so close to each other, the attempt to find one message to cover all groups, is not necessarily an attack on the Christian faith, but a desire to be efficient in an ever increasing flow of communications.
Marketers could wish us a “Merry Christmas,” and my Jewish friends “Happy Hanukkah,” and everyone a “Happy New Year.” Or, they can just say “Happy Holidays” and cover it all; no offense intended. I have done this myself as I communicate with our customers, and had no ill intent nor any fear of being bold about my faith as I was doing this.
However, it is ridiculous how some companies have gone out of their way not to offend some at the expense of so many others. A green tree that you cut down, put in your living room with lights and ornaments during the month of December is not a Holiday Tree; it’s a Christmas Tree. Just like the multi-stick candle holder is called a Menorah.
From a Christian’s Perspective
Christmas is the occasion where we Christians celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a remembrance of the greatest gift ever given; where GOD himself came to this world to be born as a child, and die for the sins of all mankind, so that we might once again walk with GOD in peace. This is worthy of our respect and observance every day, not just on Christmas.
However, let’s remember that Christians do not own the month of December. It is shared with Hanukkah by the Jews, God’s chosen people, and even the simple tradition of Santa and gifts. And although we have different beliefs, each group still deserves to be respected. If you are one who does not choose to celebrate any of these, that is your right, but December 25th is still Christmas in America, whether you like it or not.
What gets bizarre is when the government or retailers give into the complaints of a few, and toss aside years of traditions, to please the tiny number of whiners with lawyers. It’s bizarre that some are outraged at a Nativity scene on the city hall lawn, but allow strip clubs and pot-shops to flourish. Or retailers who tell their employees not to say Merry Christmas so customers aren’t offended, then present their own offensive content like this Urban Outfitter catalog.
We Christians could lighten up a bit too. After all, December 25th is not the actual day of Jesus birthday. Scholars say that he was most likely born in the spring (as shepherds would be more likely to lay out in the fields at night). The idea is to celebrate the Savior’s birth everyday, and show love and kindness to our fellow man every day of the year.
The remembrance of Christ’s birth is not even called “Jesus Birthday.” Our nation could have given the same respect to Jesus’ birthday as we do for Lincoln and Martin Luther King’s birthday. However, since our nation has not felt it necessary to call Christmas “Jesus’ Birthday” or to celebrate it on the right day for the last 200 years, why get angry today if others choose not to recognize it at all?
“You can’t protest people into following the Messiah.”
Peace on Earth
One of Jesus Christ’s last prayers was that his followers would live in peace with each other. (John 17: 20 – 23) Therefore, in the spirit of Christmas, and in honor of the man whom we seek to remember on this day, let’s try and do things in a way HE would. Honor GOD this Christmas in your hearts and lives FIRST. Let this pour out so obviously that you don’t need a label or group to be identified as a follower of Jesus.
“Let your light so shine that others will see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Then, people will find the Savior, just as the shepherds did, when they follow the light that leads them to him, and today that light is us.
“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”