Save Christmas For The Christians

by Jimmy Akin

in Current Affairs

Don’t you just hate it, when every year more and more stores, businesses, TV and radio stations that used to say “Merry Christmas” start saying things like “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”?

It burns me up when they do that.

I don’t mind if they add “Happy Hanukkah” or similar wishes to folks of other religions (though “Happy Kwanzaa” tests my limits, as being black isn’t–or shouldn’t be–a religion).

One of the local country music stations even runs public service announcements that say “Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! And to everyone else . . . Have a nice day!”

But it really irks me when businesses suppress Christmas entirely and try to get by with a politically correct “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.”

I’m sorry, but–as they say–Christ is the reason for the season. Hanukkah isn’t even a major holiday on the Jewish calendar. The only reason it gets prominence in advertising is because it’s close to Christmas (advertisers don’t want Jewish folks to feel left out). I don’t like it when people try to entirely suppress Christ and the boost he gives businesses’ sales at that time of year.

Makes me not want to support businesses who desire reap the benefits of the season without acknowledging its reason.

Turns out some other folks feel the same way. This story tells the tale of a man who is organizing a boycott of such businesses. Exerpts:

Manuel Zammarano has formed the Committee to Save Merry Christmas to protest the fact that big retailers profit from Christmas shopping dollars but refuse to mention the holiday by name.

His group has boycotted Federated Department Stores Inc., which owns Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, for collecting Christmas cash without giving Christmas credit for all the end-of-year gift buying.

May God prosper his cause.

I don’t like the commercialization of Christmas. In the words of Joel Robinson, Christmas is too often “a Christian holiday ruined by commercialism.” But I don’t like commercialists trying to reap its financial benefits while entirely remove Christ from Christmas.

I may wish you “Merry Christmas!” but I’d mean something entirely different if I said “Merry -Mass!”


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Billy July 16, 2004 at 8:31 am

I think non-Christians need to show a little more tolerance here.

Esquire July 16, 2004 at 10:27 am

Not to put too fine a point on it, but these businesses are actually reaping profits off of Advent rather than Christmas.
Perhaps we should boycott companies that have “holiday” sales prior to midnight Mass and the end of our penitential period.
Just a thought.

Sean Gallagher July 16, 2004 at 1:57 pm

As a side note, I read one blogger who has a penchant for being as theologically precise as possible correct the proverb ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ to ‘Sin is the reason for the season.’ Interesting observation. It has some truth to it. But somehow, I don’t think that it will catch on.

Steve Jackson July 17, 2004 at 4:57 am

I’m also getting real annoyed with the use of “C.E.” and “B.C.E.” It is even catching on in Roman Catholic cirlces, such as the Collegville Bible Commentary.
I wonder if text books used in public schools have started using it.

Emily Snyder July 19, 2004 at 10:00 am

I once had a loooong and politely hostile conversation with a dear high school friend of mine about Kwanza (she’s on the “we shouldn’t force black people to be Christians” side, although well couched). Have you any links that would give me more information? It burns me in several ways.
As for C.E. and B.C.E., Steve let’s just say that as a Catholic School Religion Teacher, I’ve had to instruct my students to rewrite the textbooks with A.D. and B.C. If nothing else, it provides me with the opportunity to explain what A.D. and B.C. mean. However…in a Church History text book? In a Bible textbook…?!
Of course, the irony is that the “common era” still stems from Christ’s birth (as it was calculated long ago). Another example of secular ignorance: to be honest, at least, one might have said the “common era” began with, oh, Charlemagne. Or William the Conqueror. Or, to prove secular arrogance in America, in 1776!

Craig Nessel August 20, 2004 at 7:58 am

Heck, let’s be totally PC and roll them all into one holiday and call it “HanaRamaKwanzaaMas”.

Rex Kochanski December 20, 2004 at 2:41 pm

How about Merry Christ’s Mass (I presume that’s what the original medieval English meant to convey). Or, to take a leaf from the country station you mentioned, how about something like, “Merry Christ-Mass… to those who won’t receive it, have a nice day!”
In any case, I like the idea of trying to get an Advent Presence. And, there are wonderful, little-known Advent carols the stores could be using. Besides, Advent is inherently tolerant. We’re waiting for the Messiah;
need we be persnickety about emphasizing our faith in a return visit?
P.S. (Not relevant to post) Hello. I am very interested in Faith&Science questions (I teach at biology at a college) and I have good friends one of whom is all-but-a Jehovah’s Witness, and the other an all-but agnostic twice-yearly practicer of Judaism. Recommendations on all these fronts would be welcome. Please reply at your convenience, and have, of course, a Merry Christ-Mass.

Schlüggell March 29, 2005 at 4:08 pm

The celebration of the winter solstice has existed globally, however, I am curious on the Catholic viewpoint of Christmas-do you include Santa Claus, or St. Niklaus.
Also, I would say that most peoples celebration of Christmas in the modern era actually takes away from what we should be celebrating at the time.
Christmas tree first recorded in American English in 1835(not UK). Christmas first spelled with a Ch- after 1500’s, so is not Old English. In fact Crist in Olde English means ‘healer’ from hæland which came from Wassail in 1140 from Old Norse “Ves Heill”.
Noel came from Middle English in 1390 from nowel.
The manger as créche is from Old French in 1792 that came from Old German as kripja.
The very nature of our calendar having switched several times in A.D. posts further issue with the Twelfth Night.
In fact the main point of Kwanzaa is not the blackness, but seven ideals that every Christian should at least think about during Christmas. The sickly rash of commercialization does more than just pervade the words and the gifts of the season.

margieM. April 10, 2005 at 8:40 am

DearJimmy, When someone tells me have a happy holiday, istop in my tracks,smile,while grinding my teeth,and reply Merry Christmas,who’s birthday is it anyway,why are people decorating a tree,why in the world would people be buying others people presents on this date?Don’t forget St.Nicholas,who started giving presents to the poor and needy children.Also,St.Francis who was the first to set up the first crypt,with the Holy Family,and the infant Jesus inside the crypt.Yes,our Savior is born into the world,to save us for a better place,not to save us to have a happy holiday and shop for presents on this certain day of the year.

AGUSTIN Maltese April 15, 2005 at 12:57 pm

dear Jimmy,i am five years old,i love Jesus very much in my heart,and i don’t want anyone who doesn’t know the meaning of true love to take Him and all His goodness away.I am to small to make a difference,what i can do is pray that these people get healed and come to know the truth about our Heavenly family and our precious Lord.I ask you and All your friends and family to pray very hard with me.My grammie is helping me to send out this message.Thank you for listening.May Jesus bless and keep us all. love Agustin.

Jimmy Akin April 15, 2005 at 1:35 pm

Thanks Agustin! I’m sure many people will!

Shibboleth April 15, 2005 at 2:26 pm

Yet another thing that we need to get our Judicial System in shape with first before we can consider changing such a thing… With my experience in the corporate word, as much as we would like to call something a Christmas Party vs. a Holiday Party we abstain because we just do not want to get sued.
So many Christian celebration dates are borrowed from other religions and cultures. I say, If you want to share that date with us to celebrate something else then you are welcome to do so… but, please don’t make me be quiet about my reasons just because you have your own.
Quick Question: I have started teaching myself Biblical Greek and of course I have learned the Greek word for Christ. Is this why we truncate Chirstmas to X-mas because of the “Chi” in Greek – sort of like IHS?

Publius April 15, 2005 at 3:40 pm

Is this why we truncate Chirstmas to X-mas because of the “Chi” in Greek – sort of like IHS?

atheling2 April 28, 2005 at 11:23 pm

“Holiday” is from “Holy Day”. Maybe next time someone says “Happy Holidays” we should respond the same, but pronounce it as “Holy” day!
Nevertheless, I agree with the article. I refuse to buy cards or anything which just says the bland “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays”. It has to say “Christmas” if I buy it.

Michael May 4, 2005 at 6:43 am

BCE is used instead of BC because jesus was not born in 0 AD, the apporixmate time of his birth was guessed in the 6th centuary and got wrong.
The dates of chrstian festivals were incorporated from pagan ones in the 3rd, 4th century to make it easier to convert people from Roman Paganism to Christianity (one of the things in the da vinci code that is based on historical fact).
The act of decorating houses, have xmas trees etc is borrowed from paganism. Just because some time ago an arbitrary date was picked to celebrate xmas doesnt mean everyone else has to have it shoved down our throats.

Jimmy Akin May 4, 2005 at 9:05 am

I’m afraid that whoever told you this stuff sold you a bill of goods.
BCE is nto used in place of BC because Jesus was not born in 0 A.D. There *is no* 0 A.D. on the Gregorian calendar. It jumps from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., and people recognized that Jesus was probably born a few years B.C. long before the BCE practice started. That practice is part of a de-Christianization campaign and has nothing to do with what year Christ was born.
As to the pagan-related claims you make, all I have to say is this: Please cite some patristic sources saying that this is what was going on! I’ve done a lot of reading in the Church Fathers and I don’t know of *any* fathers who say things like “Yes, let’s put this holyday on this day so that we can hitch a ride on this other pagan holiday” or “Let’s adopt pagan customs so we can make it easier to convert pagans.”
These kinds of references simply aren’t there. The early Church Fathers were rabidly anti-pagan and would have been apoplectic at the suggestion that they adopt pagan trappings in this manner.
It is really tiresome to hear the same wild conjectures over and over from people who haven’t examined the original sources.

Allen May 9, 2005 at 9:20 am

I have no problem with letting the secularists have the holiday in their own way. Christmas, even for Christians has lost a lot too. Little by little, the holiday has taken on several different characteristics that we shouldn’t share. I remember, not too long ago, that the office ‘Christmas Party’ was not too different than going to Club 54 or Plato’s Retreat. Even if it didn’t get that bad, there was nothing ‘Christmassy” about the parties. As for our kids…………..we’re doing nothing but teaching them avarice. Besides, giving gifts to everyone probably has more to do with getting upset with going to the malls and getting caught up in……..whatever emotion, usually not positive. Although, I bet that there are some here that really enjoy the experience, but I doubt that most of us don’t. It has become obligation.
If we want to do this right, why not, change the focus from ourselves to those of whom the Lord commanded us……………the needy, widows, orphans, in prison, men in uniform serving elsewhere.
I would just bet that most of us would want to do this, but old traditions die hard……..or, fine, but what about my kids?
If we really want to make an impact on the world, why don’t we show them what Christ wants us to be made of. Do you think He cares about what we’re currently doing about the holiday, or how we greet each other? I might be inclined to believe that He’s rather we celebrate his birthday (whether or not it really is), by how we remember those who don’t have.
“Lord, when did we see you when you were naked…………….”.

Kheldar June 14, 2005 at 10:15 pm

Given the number of days in a year, and the number of pagan “gods” (not to mention the number of polytheistic pagan religions), it would be hard to find a day that has never been set aside by a pagan religion for the worship of some god, or “comes close” to some other celebration (i.e., winter solstice).
I mean, I could try to make the claim that Groundhog’s Day is an attempt to “win over” the observers of Candlemass, because they both fall on Feb 2nd. Not only that, but when Demeter sought Persephone in Hades, she used candles, which cast shadows! Obviously, it’s a plan to eventually switch over those people who celebrate Candlemass!
If Demeter sees her shadow, that means 6 more weeks of winter, right?

Lisa July 14, 2005 at 5:39 am

My husband and I deliver newspapers for a living. Our first Christmas with this job, (3 years ago), we wrote a “Merry Christmas letter” to our customers instead of using the “happy holiday” cards the papers offered to give us. We keep it simple and elegant, and we use beautiful Christmas stationary (usually with a nativity scene).
Our customers loved them, but unfortunately, when our manager found out, he was furious. He said we couldn’t use “Merry Christmas” even though a different manager said it was no problem.
We decided to search the advertisments in the paper that we delivered. If we could find advertising with Merry Christmas, we could wish our customers Merry Christmas. (Our thought was if the paper could accept advertising dollars for Christmas sales and not offend customers, then our wishing a Merry Christmas couldn’t either). We did find a few, but only a few.

Debbie October 28, 2005 at 1:01 pm

That “BCE” and “CE” stuff irks me, too. I did see one good thing as of yesterday, though. I was watching something on The History Channel and they used “AD” and “BC” in their show. That was surprising because I used to hear them saying it the other way. Did something change here? Maybe a backlash is forming, who knows! I have seen some secular books printed this year using “AD” and “BC”. I’m glad to see that some use it. Hope it continues, though.
About “Happy Holidays”. Don’t get me started! That gets under my skin, too. At my dentist last year, the dental assistant wished me “Happy Holidays”, but I told her “Merry Christmas”. Apparently, she was happy I did it. She then wished me “Merry Christmas” in turn and said “God Bless.” Interesting. Seems we’re being forced into that “Happy Holidays” thing, but we shouldn’t be.

pha October 28, 2005 at 2:06 pm

That “BCE” and “CE” stuff irks me, too.
I had a very observant Jewish history teacher in sixth grade whose class I continued to visit for many years after. She absolutely refused to allow anyone to use “BCE” and “CE” in her classroom. She doesn’t believe Jesus is God, but she doesn’t see any point in pretending that the calendar isn’t Christian in origin.

cw November 9, 2005 at 5:54 am

My sister-in-law wrote this in response to a catalog she received that advertised everything as “Holiday” except for a set of Hannakuh crackers that were on the same page as the Holiday crackers, not Christmas crackers. (Crackers meaning the party favor kind, not the edible kind.)
I just received your (insert company name) “Holiday 2005” catalogue. Though it was nice of you to send it, I’m afraid my family and I don’t celebrate ‘holiday.’ In fact, though I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m not even sure what or when ‘holiday’ is, though I suspect that it’s sometime in late December.
My family and I celebrate a small, quaint religious day we like to call “Christmas.” I don’t suppose you’ve heard of it, but it has ancient roots, and many lovely customs and traditions. One of those traditions is to give our loved ones gifts on this day, and companies used to send me catalogues to help me pick out Christmas gifts for my family and friends.
I’m afraid, in recent years, I’ve very inappropriately been purchasing ‘holiday’ gifts by mistake! You can imagine my chagrin–I wouldn’t give a Jewish friend a Christmas gift for Hanukkah, so I certainly shouldn’t give ‘holiday’ gifts to my loved ones for Christmas. Now that I’ve realized this terrible faux pas, I no longer intend to shop from stores or catalogues who advertise only ‘holiday’ gifts but who do not use the word “Christmas” to describe any of their merchandise. I would be ashamed to fill my house with ‘holiday’ decorations and ‘holiday’ cheer when I don’t even celebrate ‘holiday’!
So, though I appreciate your thoughtfulness in sending me your Holiday catalogue, I won’t be using it. Not unless the kids decide to cut it up to make confetti for our Christmas crackers.

CIE November 12, 2005 at 12:26 am


Iagree! November 12, 2005 at 6:46 pm

Hi, CIE!
I agree with you! All stores who don’t say “Merry Christmas” should be boycotted. Walmart should top the list. I’m tired of their trying to be “diverse”, as they claim! If that’s true, then why do they make their commercials on TV and their webpages to look like Christmas. If you do that, then say it!!! Talk about the hypocracy!!! I don’t see their TV commercials/webpages/advertisements looking like Hannakah/Kwanza. How do they figure? Looks like Christmas to me!!! Thanks for hearing me out.

pha November 12, 2005 at 10:02 pm

I don’t see their TV commercials/webpages/advertisements looking like Hannakah/Kwanza.
If commercials don’t play up Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, it’s probably because businesses don’t expect to make much money off either holiday. Gift-giving is not a central feature.
Gift-giving is not a traditional part of Hanukkah at all. It’s been added in places where Jews have a lot of contact with Christians, as a way of coping with Jewish children’s feeling “left out” when their Christian friends receive Christmas gifts. It’s therefore unusual for Jews to give Hanukkah gifts to anyone other than their own young children.
Kwanzaa is a family-oriented African-American celebration of pan-African culture, tradition, and history based on traditional harvest celebrations (kind of like Shavuot among Jews, or Thanksgiving among Americans). It is also intended to instill, celebrate, and reinforce several community values, like unity, faith, creativity, communal responsibility, etc. Gift-giving is not a central aspect of the holiday, though educational gifts like books and African heritage emblems are often given to children at Kwanzaa.
By contrast, the observance of Christmas, especially in the United States, has become dominated by gift-giving. This is true among both Christians and non-Christians, though some Christians lament (and even rebel against) the extreme commercialization of the holy day.
So stores use more Christmas decorations because they’re much more likely to make Christmas sales than Hanukkah and Kwanzaa sales. If they were more likely to make Hanukkah sales, you can bet your bottom dollar there’d be a lot more blue than red in the displays.

Iagree November 14, 2005 at 10:36 am

“If they were more likely to make Hanukkah sales, you can bet your bottom dollar there’d be a lot more blue than red in the displays.”
Well, if this is true, then they should start putting back the “Merry Christmas” into their “Holiday” and be proud that Christmas is filling up their coffers not just some unmentionable “Holiday”. What do you think? Thanks!

pha November 14, 2005 at 10:43 am

Well, if this is true, then they should start putting back the “Merry Christmas” into their “Holiday” and be proud that Christmas is filling up their coffers not just some unmentionable “Holiday”. What do you think?
Personally, I prefer that they don’t exploit the Name of our Lord for sales.

Ryan C November 14, 2005 at 11:41 am

“About “Happy Holidays”. Don’t get me started! That gets under my skin, too.”
As I said in another post, just pronounce it “Happy Holydays.” Problem solved. :-p

Lisa Poynter November 19, 2005 at 10:54 am

Everyone should email Kohls Dept Store and let them know how you feel about their choice to remove Jesus

Lisa Poynter November 19, 2005 at 10:55 am

Everyone should email Kohls Dept Store and let them know how you feel about their choice to remove Jesus

Neoconspy November 19, 2005 at 2:02 pm

kohls is a public corporation that was founded by the Sidney Kohl family, I believe. Herbert Kohl, a relative, is a US senator from Wis. Write to him and the company.

StubbleSpark November 19, 2005 at 4:33 pm

Kwanza is not a holiday about Christian values. It has no religious underpinnings whatsoever. Its very purpose is to be a secular series of “holy” days that underline secular values.
That means, in the logic of our current culture, that it is a sort of cross-faith holiday that anyone can celebrate. You see, a long time ago someone somewhere just DECIDED that the most hostile attitude towards all religion, Modernist Secularism, is in fact some sort of neutral ground for all religion, like holy ground in Highlander. Only it is SO NOT.
The purpose of promoting Kwanza is to encourage a stronger solidarity among blacks that stretches across faith lines. Problem is most devout black Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc would not have a high opinion about a holiday that essentially celebrates one’s skin color.
Real egalitarian.

Tricia November 20, 2005 at 10:06 am

I live near Portland, Oregon. Our city used to put up a big beautiful Christmas Tree in the center of the city at Pioneer Square. Now all we have is a “Holiday Tree!” What is up with that?! I always buy Christmas cards that say “Merry Christmas” and note something about celebrating the birth of Christ. (I also tend to choose a nativity scene with the Holy Family or something that recognizes Jesus as Messiah.) After all, He is the reason I’m celebrating anything at all.

NeoconSpy November 20, 2005 at 11:13 am

Traditional Christimas Cards are becoming really hard to find, even in Catholic bookstores.
A good place to search for them is ebay.
Under a search category like Traditional Christmas cards etc..

hippo354 November 20, 2005 at 12:47 pm

Museum catalogs have beautiful traditional cards as well. They can be pricy but I usually get them on sale after Christmas and save them for the following year. The Metropolitan Museum of Art ( has a box of assorted cards with a nice selection.

hippo354 November 20, 2005 at 3:19 pm

I had better luck searching under ‘religious Christmas Cards’ and found an enormous selection of religious cards – lots I wouldn’t buy, but because of personal taste rather than content. had a good selection.

Tricia November 22, 2005 at 6:22 pm

Apropos of nothing…I saw a bumper sticker the other day that I thought was funny. It read, “Jesus is coming…look busy!”

Karen November 25, 2005 at 9:34 am

I find it both ironic and ludicrous that the extreme left, all of hwom claim to be so “open minded” and “tolerant”, are trying so hard to remove Christ from (Christ)mas. For a group of people who thing themselves to be so “enlightened” they have an odd way of showing it, let’s include eveyone as long as they aren’t Christian. Hardly seems “tolerant” or “open minded” to me.

Karen November 25, 2005 at 9:40 am

I find it both ironic and ludicrous that the extreme left, all of whom claim to be so “open minded” and “tolerant”, are trying so hard to remove Christ from (Christ)mas. For a group of people who think themselves to be so “enlightened” they have an odd way of showing it, let’s include eveyone as long as they aren’t Christian. Hardly seems “tolerant” or “open minded” to me.

Dr. Eric November 25, 2005 at 10:41 am

William J. Tighe of Muhlenburg College has an interesting article in a past issue of Touchstone Magazine about the date of Christmas.
It would seem that 25 December or 6 January is correct afterall. (Sorry, I don’t know how to put in the link in green or red or blue)

CatholicDefender November 25, 2005 at 11:57 am

On Mark Shea’s website, he has posted a article he wrote for Look for the heading: My latest at the Register
I encourage Catholics to read it and compare with what I posted below:
Is unbelief a mortal sin? Listen to Our Lord: ” If you do not believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins!” ( John 8:24)
St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Whosoever revolts and continues not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God.
II St. John 1:9
No Man cometh to the Father but by me.
St. John 14:6
He who honors not the son, honors not the Father Who sent Him. He who hates Me, hates My Father also.
St. John 5:23 15:23
He who does not believe is already Judged : John 3:18
In conclusion, let me say the Catholic church has never changed Her teaching on any peoples out side Her fold. The criminal acts that groups of people commit has nothing to do with how the Church sees such people.
The lawabiding grandmother who bakes cookies all day for the poor , but who rejects Jesus is on the same path as anyone else who rejects Jesus. The Catholic church has never sought out and harmed persons because they do not believe.
The Catholic Church allows those without the One True Faith to live in peace. The Catholic church has a Divine Mandate to protect Her children from those who seek to destroy or corrupt the Faith. Some have tried to do this via a sword, and some have resorted to other methods.
The list of those who have tried to destroy the Catholic Faith over 1970 years is long and their methods just as varied.

Jimmy Akin November 25, 2005 at 1:34 pm

By using my combox as a forum to start a controversy over something on another blog (from which he has been banned), completely unrelated to this thread, CatholicDefender has just earned STRIKE TWO.

Jay Penn November 29, 2005 at 7:02 am

How can corporate America let the voice of a few persuade them to drop “Christmas” from being
“Christmas” because it may be offensive to some. THIS IS “Christmas”, not just some unnamed holiday. This is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, it is a Christian holiday.
It’s time the voice of Christians and all believers to make their voices heard. It’s all very simple, boycot any and all retailers that are willling to drop “CHRISTMAS” for Happy Holiday. It is “CHRISTMAS”.
Should “CHRISTMAS” offend you, stand by your convictions and don’t participate in it or take the holiday pay or time off your company gives you for which this holiday is celebrated.
Enjoy the Thanksgiving “Holiday Season”.
After all this country was based on freedom of religion. If you don’t believe that is your choice.
Merry Christmas!
Jay Penn

Cindy November 30, 2005 at 4:09 pm

@ StubbleSpark
You mention: “I live near Portland, Oregon. Our city used to put up a big beautiful Christmas Tree in the center of the city at Pioneer Square. Now all we have is a “Holiday Tree!” What is up with that?!”
I agree with you so much- it’s getting worse every year! I LIVE in Portland, Oregon. But did you know they NOW just call it “THE TREE” ?
Read this:
November 25
Lighting of the Tree
Well over 25,000 people are expected to attend the 21st annual Tree Lighting Event. This hour-long program features Michael Allen Harrison with special guest Julianne Johnson, a community chorus sing-a-long, tree lighting countdown, and of course, the arrival of Santa. Big, bright, and beautiful, this event unites the community in an evening of celebration and sharing for the whole family.

Rev. Bob Grey November 30, 2005 at 8:47 pm

An integral way of changing this “Hate Christmas”
campaign waged by the ACLU(the Atheistic Communist League of Un-Americans) is to contact the stores which are labelling all Christmas items as ‘holiday’ itemns. write emails to the CEO of the store or chain, send postcards telling them you disapprove of their campaign of religious hate and bigotry and that you WILL NOT be a customer in their stores.
They depend on profits, the Bottom Line, so they ared cutting their own throats by their campaign of hatred for over 250 million people; tell them you will buy Christmas items from Christian stores only. Then do it! These store cannot afford to lose any customers!.
Rev. Grey,
Berkeley, California

Tony December 2, 2005 at 2:48 pm

The “Holydays” (to quote a previous comment) that we celebrate in December is not the Christmas, but rather a commercialized version of a Christian holiday that once existed. It is no wonder that, since Christians have allowed the holiday (by being active participants in the commercialization) to become an American capitalist tradition, that the term “Christmas” has faded out to “Holiday.” The traditional values associated with the purpose of Christmas have faded themselves – even in your seemingly religious homes. Remember that Christmas is not about buying the latest toys for your kids, even if it is a Christian version of Monopoly. If you want people to say Merry Christmas to you, perhaps you should partake in some traditional Christmas activities that He would be proud of, not speeding through WalMart at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe getting back to the roots is important, but let’s not be selective about which things!
On a different note, I think that one also has to remember that the United States is the ubiquitous “melting pot” of the world. We have many different religious beliefs, ethnicities and backgrounds. To say that retailers should say Merry Christmas is absurd. Imagine if you lived in a country when the major religion was Judaism. And, even if it was bastardized by commercialism, you had to listen to “Happy Hanukah!” all day and night during this season, you’d feel left out, uncomfortable and angry. The same analogy goes here. With so many people celebrating (or not celebrating) different holidays during this time of the year, it’s just not fair to say one deserves to be broadcast, no matter its following. We do not live in a theocracy so I agree with retailers’ choice of using a generic saying that suits ALL beliefs, not just yours.

bill912 December 2, 2005 at 3:08 pm

Not in my home, Tony, nor in a lot of others. Of course, that doesn’t fit your template. By the way, Happy Hanukah!

bill912 December 2, 2005 at 3:45 pm

“(If) you had to listen to “Happy Hanukah!” all day and night during this season, you’d feel left out, uncomfortable and angry.” No, I wouldn’t, because I’m not anti-Semetic.

Margaret December 2, 2005 at 4:00 pm

Frankly, I would rather receive good wishes for an actual, legitimate holyday (albeit of another faith) than the generic “Happy Holidays.” I figure that holydays of other faiths are still an honest attempt to give glory to God, even if in a imperfect and incomplete manner. The artifical, mishmosh, month-long “Holiday” (i.e. the Big Shopping Season) is about giving glory to the Almighty Dollar.

Tony December 2, 2005 at 5:53 pm

“No, I wouldn’t, because I’m not anti-Semetic.”
Wow, since when did feeling left out mean that you’re anti-semetic? If I feel left out at Kwanzaa doe sthat make me a racist? Feeling left out is not a product of hate toward those in the majority, it’s a feeling of being not part of the majority. Stop twisting my words.

Peace December 3, 2005 at 3:54 am

For those of you fighting to keep “Christmas” in the product marketing, card salutations, and public displays for fundamentalist purposes – how do Christmas trees, Santa, Frosty, etc. fit into the birth of Christ? Seeing the transformation away from the core purpose of the Event that has occured in our culture, will you now take issue with these other non-religious rituals that have tolerantly associated themselves with Christmas? Are you going to boycott any store that sells a Rudolph stuffed animal?

Anne Onymous December 3, 2005 at 3:19 pm

Happy Winder Solstice and Merry Saturnalia! Enjoy your Yule and remember: The tree, mistletoe, giving of presents, holly, and the very term “yuletide” (meaning Wheel Time) came from pagan celebrations. Of course the “fathers” wouldn’t admit it! Cosider the source!

bill912 December 3, 2005 at 3:38 pm

We’ll definitely “cosider” the source.

Tim J. December 3, 2005 at 8:06 pm

Anne Onymous-
“Enjoy your Yule and remember: The tree, mistletoe, giving of presents, holly, and the very term “yuletide” (meaning Wheel Time) came from pagan celebrations.”
But the Pagans couldn’t keep them alive, could they? They survive to this day because they became associated with the life of the Church.
Still, I don’t think anyone has ever wished me a “Happy Yuletide”.
Without holly, misteltoe, trees or presents, Christmas would go merrily on.
So it appears that the old pagan forms need the Church, but the reverse is not true.
So, let me wish you a hearty Merry Christmas!

Mary December 4, 2005 at 7:48 am

Very interesting that a tree that wasn’t part of Christmas decorations until the 19th century came from pagan times.
Time travel, I presume?

Tim J. December 4, 2005 at 9:31 am

Yes, Mary…
And I’m sure no one would EVER think to give presents on special occasions without the influence of some pagan rite.

Dr. Eric December 5, 2005 at 3:44 pm

An alternative would be to follow the Byzantine tradition of giving gifts on the 6th of December on the Feast of St. Nicholas. I went to a Ukrainian Church where St. Nicholas (with his sakkos, mitra, pateritsa [robe, crown, and staff]) was greeted by the children and he handed out presents after the Divine Liturgy. The focus is on the children that day and the birth of our Lord and Savior is still celebrated with Solemnity on the 25th of December.

Verily319 January 10, 2006 at 2:51 pm

I think they should just revise the liturgical calendar so that christmas falls eariler in the year. August maybe. It would serve the double purpose of eliminating the secularization of Christmas and evening out the chunks of ordinary time so there’s not that long stretch of green in the summer. :-)

Soapy Sam January 17, 2006 at 7:24 pm

The “commercialization” of Christmas is a cultural phenomenon that can also be associated with increasing secularization in society. Notably, Hanukah is, as has been mentioned, not a major Jewish Holiday, and is included in the season largely at the wishes of both the PC police and a select group of marketers, more than through the efforts of the Jewish community. The leftists who insist on either A)Mentioning ALL Holidays or B)Secularizing the season completely acutally serve the “commercialization” that leftists usually despise. Their efforts A)Open up other, lesser Holidays to marketers and B)Make unbridled avarice on this secular holiday acceptable.
It is interesting that we mention Kwanzaa, because this seems to be the most blatant example “Holiday Artifice”. I am not, I must add, an expert on Kwanzaa, but from what I understand, the founder was a high school dropout and convicted felon, as well as a militant “black nationalist”. More significantly, however, he seems to have shown, in his creation of Kwanzaa, a disgusting contempt for African-Americans. The language of Kwanzaa, if I am not mistaken, is Swahili, a language centered on Africa’s Eastern coast. Most American blacks are descended from slaves who had been abducted from Western Africa, a world away from Swahili-speaking areas. As one source put it, this makes about as much sense as having “Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s day by speaking Polish”. The connection to African “harvest festivals” seems weak. I’m no expert on international farming, but I wonder where, exactly, one would celebrate a harvest in December? On the other hand, the date helps establish Kwanzaa as a respectable Holiday by connecting it with the Christmas season. Kwanzaa’s founder, Ron Karenga (born Ron N. Everett), once admitted to making up the nonsense about Africa, saying that he didn’t think African-Americans would celebrate it if they thought it had an American origin. In short, he had contempt for his fellow African-Americans.
If I have made any mistakes here, please correct me, but I think that most of these claims can be proven. My point is this: Commercialization and Holiday “fakery” are both connected to rampant political correctness movements.

neelamegan s rajan April 22, 2006 at 11:03 am

hi why do you think that your religion is so fragile that if the business or broadcating stations use more secular form of greetings, it can suppress your religion. a religion should stand on the sterngth of truth and not on constant media propaganda. i never get frustrated if any one doesn’t say ‘happy diwali’ and i don’t beleive the strength of my religon depends on forcing secular institutions to do something which they don’t want to do.

bill912 April 22, 2006 at 12:07 pm

“Christ is the reason for the season.”
“Makes me not want to support businesses who want to reap the benefits of the season without acknowledging its reason.”
“Whose birthday is it, anyway?”
“THIS IS Christmas, not just some unnamed holiday.”
These quotes were all posted above. They were all written in plain English. What did you not understand.

J. R. Stoodley April 22, 2006 at 1:41 pm

Neelamegan S Rajan,
I do not know much about India, or whether you live there or in a predominantly non-Hindu area like the United States, so I don’t know what parallels to draw in that direction. If you do live in a non-Hindu culture and have all or most of your life, then you are coming from a religious minority perspective in which you would not expect much of any secular acknowledgement of your holiday, hence your understandable attitude.
Taking a historical view of the situation though might help clarify where we are coming from. The United States, and Europe which is our cultural and generally ancestral roots, have historically been Christian for a very long time. The origin of many practices and I think some of the intangable “Christmas spirit” is pre-Christian in origin, drawing from the Yule of the Germanic peoples (Ango-Saxon, Old German, Scandanavian, etc.) as well as similar Roman and Celtic holidays. However, since the Middle Ages or before all these winter solstice holidays were absorbed into our celebration of the Nativity of Christ, Christmas. Thus historically we see an overwhelmingly Christan culture in the West, in which Christmas was a deep seated, extremely meaningful part of the heritage and life of our people. Even as the culture began to drift away from Christianity, or any organized religion, this aspect was preserved for some time.
Now, in the last few decades, this venerable Christian part of Western culture is disappearing, replaced by neutral and meaningless phrases about an unnamed “holiday” or “season.” In this way the Christian meaning of the holiday is definitively lost, while the old pagan symbols (nothing wrong with them) and the commercial frenzy (something wrong with that) remains.
I hope you can see why this is distressing to many Christians in this country. Also, it is really not just the issue of Christmas. Christmas is so beloved that it gets lots of attention, but I think much of the feeling behind the issue is from the more general abandonment of Christianity in the West. Churches attendance is down, governments are distancing themselves from any acknowledgment of religion, the b.c. and a.d. designation for dates is being replaced by b.c.e. and c.e., the list goes on and on. Meanwhile the culture is becoming so shallow and comerical, and this adds sting to the situation, since our religion is now being exploited for commercial gains while not even being acknowledged.
So it is not about our religion being so fragil we need secular reinfocement. It is the combind abandonment and exploitation of our religion by our society that concerns us.

P. Edward Murray May 31, 2006 at 10:25 am

I like to remind people (they seem to forget all the time) that our American “Santa Claus” is just a derivative of St. Nicholas.
So, the giving that we do is to remind us of the Saint and of Christ.
Personally, I can’t stand all this idea of
“Commercialism” it sounds phony to me and I will tell you why…
My family has a retail dept. store background as my father (God rest his soul) was employed by a large (now defunct in 1986) retail dept store corp called Allied Stores. Until his death he was
the President of the Eastern Pennsylvania division called Pomeroys.
Today, retailing may be a bit different but for the vast majority of stores Christmastime is the make or break period of the year which led to the term “Black Friday” the Friday after Thanksgiving which used to be the biggest shopping day of the year.
Some forget that retailers are people too and have families so this is the period of time that they either sink or swim.

Steve Ray August 26, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Even when the bigots replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays, they still acknowledge Christianity because “holiday” means “Holy Day”.

John E September 12, 2006 at 4:08 pm

How about “Winter Vacation”? Oh wait, that’d be Hell — cold, colorless, and empty of joy.
One year when our company had 2 days off for Christmas, someone decided that somebody somewhere was offended by the word Christmas. So the first day was called “Winter Vacation”. The second day?: “Day After Christmas”.

Pvb September 26, 2006 at 4:34 pm

I received an e-mail a few weeks ago about this very topic. The e-mail encouraged all of us to send a Christmas card to the following address.
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Make sure it says Merry Christmas and is a religious card!!

bill912 September 26, 2006 at 5:16 pm

Ah, Schadenfrued! Still, one has to consider if the ACLU is worth the stamp.

NW September 27, 2006 at 4:03 pm

Traditionally, “the holidays” and “the holiday season” refer to the Christmas season and New Year’s. The phrases have no original or necessary connection with Hanukkah or, obviously, Kwanzaa and arose in a time and culture in which people had no notion of modern political correctness.
Specifically, Christians have been saying and sending “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” for many decades with no agenda other than to genuinely wish glad tidings and joy of … Christmas.
Now “Merry Christmas” is also a great, time-honored greeting — and in some ways a superior one — but if it’s going to be motivated by some kind of aggressive campaign to assert cultural dominance, or a misguided attempt to deliberately offend, or in submission to the bullying of triumphalist boycotters, then save it. Just keep it to yourself and let me enjoy “the holidays” in, of all things, Peace.

bill912 September 27, 2006 at 4:57 pm

Somebody puttin’ a gun to your head?

Anonymous September 27, 2006 at 5:43 pm

>“Somebody puttin’ a gun to your head?”
That pretty much nails it, yes. I’m glad that came across.
When “Merry Christmas” is reduced to a blunderbuss in the culture war and Christmas cards are so many grenades to lob at the enemy, then I’m just not feeling the love.
The reason for the season and all that.

bill912 September 28, 2006 at 6:42 am

You’re not free to ignore it?

J.R. Stoodley September 28, 2006 at 7:14 am

The “Holiday season” clearly comes early at, like at department stores.
I once saw an giftstore in JFK airport decorated for Christmas in August.
At one time the Christmas season was December 25th till January 5th (and it still is on the Church calendar). Now in the secular culture it is September or even August till December 25th, by which time it is getting really old.
I’m all for the “keep Christmas for the Christians” thing, but maybe we need a parallel movement: keep Christmas for December and January.”

Anonymous September 28, 2006 at 7:34 am

One thing I’d like to see is a return to traditional Advent observance. Advent had always been a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance… a sort of minor Lent in preparation for the birth of our Lord. Christmas trees were put up on Christmas Eve, and that’s when the celebration actually began and continued until Epiphany.
It’s sad to see these customs abandoned by Catholics, at least locally. I don’t know if the tradition persists elsewhere.

NW September 28, 2006 at 10:28 am

>”You’re not free to ignore it?”
Irony abounds.

Tim J. September 28, 2006 at 10:45 am

I think irony might have been bill’s point.
Christians are constantly told to ignore all the crap on televison, all the insults to the faith, all the moral poison in the culture…
“Can’t you change the channel?”
“If you don’t like Brokeback Mountain, just don’t see it!”
What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If secularists don’t like Christmas, they can just ignore it! If it bothers you to hear Linus recite from the Bible (“Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown”), just change the channel!
Oh, and Merry Christmas in advance. “God bless us, every one!”.

J.R. Stoodley September 28, 2006 at 11:44 am

My mothers family in the 60s and 70s never got their tree until Christmas eve.
The problem I see with that is you would have mighty slim pickings in your choice of tree. Just the rejects.
Perhaps a good costom would be to buy the tree earlier but only decorate it on Christmas eve.
What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If secularists don’t like Christmas, they can just ignore it! If it bothers you to hear Linus recite from the Bible (“Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown”), just change the channel!
That might not be an issue for secularists much longer. NBC is now cutting all religious content from the Veggie Tales series they are running. The producers of Veggie Tales claim they had no idea they would be forced into this when they signed the contract. Why should Linus be allowed to quote the Bible when Bob and Larry can’t even mention God?

NW September 28, 2006 at 11:47 am

>”I think irony might have been bill’s point.”
And it’s a point well taken, either way.
Again, “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” are traditional Christian greetings and can, if not should, charitably be accepted as such without going into conniptions.
I could see getting annoyed at some conspicuously secularized contrivance, such as “Wonderful Winterfest” or “Special Solsticetime,” but “Happy Holidays”?
I should have such problems.

Anonymous September 28, 2006 at 12:15 pm

I’m not sure it would even matter. I watched the VeggieTales Christmas special and the only messages I got out of it was “it’s good to be nice to people” and “it’s nice to share”. A lot about Santa Claus, not a whole lot about Christ. I understand it’s geared towards kids, but it seems to me to be a product of the “pop culture Christianity” that passes for the real thing these days. I’m just sick and tired of hearing that Christmas is about sharing, family, giving, or anything only tangentially related to the birth of our Savior.
It’s amazing. 100 years ago, no one celebrated Christmas apart from Catholics, Russian Orthodox, and Episcopalians. It was considered a “Popish innovation” not supported by the Bible. Now, even Jews celebrate Christmas (well, the holiday with the tree and the presents completely devoid of any Christian significance), and even the so-called Evangelicals have finally co-opted it. And it seems to have lost all authentic meaning for most people. The secularists have turned it into a gift-giving holiday of Santa, presents, trees, and candy canes. The Evangelicals have infused their touchy-feely, morality above faith, theology into it. Where does that leave us?

Jared Weber September 28, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Dude, if anyone’s wishing you a “Special Solsticetime,” you MAY have bigger problems than secularists. That would be a neo-pagan greeting (usually).
Also, I don’t see answering a “happy holidays” greeting with a “and a Merry Christmas to you” as being some kind of assault, as alluded to earlier. Most people to whom I’ve responded to in this way and usually very happy to receive such an answer and, smiling, ususally respond, “Ah, Merry Christmas.” And if there offended by His feastday, well, you can just remember that He still wants to be their Savior, too. They just don’t know it … yet.

Jared Weber September 28, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Anon: Veggie Tales usually retells Biblical stories, always quotes a Bible verse, and always ends each show with “God made you special and He loves you very much.” Now that is simplistic, but you’ll never see them telling kids that “God makes people homosexual and you need to accept that proclivity” like Touched by an Angel did. And, it’s a good starting point to get kids thinking in terms of “Sunday morning values,” as the show’s motto states.
I don’t like the fact that NBC has editted out God from these shows either, but the thing to keep in mind is that it’s still better to show kids this stuff than say, Sabrina the teenaged witch. In the culture war, you have to start somewhere. At least the Big Idea people are trying to get a foothold.

Anonymous September 28, 2006 at 12:44 pm

But what bothers me is that for many people, this is as deep as their faith goes. I really don’t want to encourage people to have such a superficial faith, particularly not young, impressionable children.
You’re right. It’s better than Sabrina the Teenage Pagan. But in a world where my son’s Diocesan elementary school teaches the Strega Nona books, I’d sure like for supposedly “Christian” books and television to actually have some Christian content deeper than “Jesus thinks you’re swell, so be nice to people!”
It’s bad enough I don’t let my son watch the Diocese’s television programming (loaded with programs like “Father Tom and our Muslim Neighbors” and “The God Squad with Father Tom and Rabbi Gelman”… or my favorite yet, the show with Father Jim where he finds Gospel messages hidden inside decadent 60’s and 70’s rock ‘n’ roll lyrics. :(

J.R. Stoodley September 28, 2006 at 1:08 pm

Are they still airing Sabrina the Teenaged Witch? [Shudder]
Yes, Vegie Tales is simplistic and silly, but remember these are young children who are watching. You don’t need to give them systematic theology. Yes, there are aspects of the faith that you won’t find in Vegie Tales that should be taught to children, like the Eucharist for instance. That is because this is designed so that all Christians can benefit from it. It should not be the primary mode of catechesis, but it is excelent Christian children’s entertainment.
I admit the Christmas special was disappointing. Probably the fact that it was designed to be broadcast on TV is to blame for that too. The movie about Jonah was much better, like their videos. Some videos are biblical reenactment, others teach moral lessons like how it is bad to lie, even when it seems like the “white lie” is insignificant.
Best of all they are written so that adults can enjoy them too, if they aren’t too serious at least. My family still often to Walmart as Stuff-mart.

bill912 November 10, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Went to a Sears store last night. Saw a “Happy Holidays” sign. Started to roll my eyes and say, “Here we go again”, when I saw a “Feliz Navidad” sign next to it, then a “Merry Christmas” sign. We’re making progress.

Eve November 18, 2006 at 4:18 pm

As a Christian, my faith, including holidays, is neither created nor determined by businesses. I think it best to leave proclaiming Christ up to the Christians and proclaiming sales up to the retailers.

Janh December 4, 2006 at 6:04 am

Do these “boycott the retailers” Christians realize that it their claim “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” message that has led to the avoidance of the greeting “Merry Christmas”?
Jesus is not the ONLY reason for the “SEASON”
Jesus may be the reason for YOUR celebrations, but Christians do NOT have a copyright on the season. The more you push the idea that the winter celebrations are reserved for Christians, the more secular pushback you are going to get.
Love you neighbors, support your retailers, and if you really need to support Christian retailers, find one…or open your own market.
Whether birth of the SON or birth of the SUN…the universal reasons for the season are:
*A celebration of NEW LIFE
*A turning point
*A time for introspection
*A time to rejoice for new beginnings
*A time to celebrate family and community
This season has been celebrated in many ways throughout history, in feast, festivities, charitable acts, shared by ALL. Why can’t we keep it that way? We’ve never had ONE reason for the season, we don’t need one.

Tim J. December 4, 2006 at 6:17 am

That is just so backward. It was the crass commercialism and overindulgence of the secular celebrations of Christmas that led some to remind people that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. It was an attempt to call people back to a deeper appreciation of the holiday (that’s “holy day”).
Christmas is one thing, solstice or whatever is another. Jesus is THE reason for Christmas.
Merry Christmas has fallen out of favor in some circles out of sheer wrong-headed political correctness and religious intolerance

bill912 December 4, 2006 at 9:11 am

Right, Tim. I can’t imagine anyone other than an anti-Christian bigot being offended by the words “Merry Christmas”. It seems to me that the retailers who wish their customers “Happy Holidays” are afraid of offending the bigots. That offends me.

ESAU December 4, 2006 at 9:52 am

Benedict Groeschel: You and I were talking and you told me an anecdote about when they took the crucifixes down from the classroom walls at Boston College. I think this anecdote is a little bit long, but I think our audience would be very interested to hear it.
Peter Kreeft: Well, I was teaching comparative religions, and during the long break, there was a Jewish student and a Muslim student in the front row. The Jewish student noticed a faint cross painted on the wall behind me, so he asked me, “Is that supposed to be a cross?”
I started to explain that that’s where the crucifix used to be, and another student, a Catholic, said “Oh, we took the crucifixes down last year.”
“Why did you do take them down?”
“Oh, well, we didn’t want to offend people.”
“When did you take them down?”
“Well, let’s see. 1979.”
“Aha,” said the Jewish student. “It was the Bundy money.”
No one understood that, so he explained that President Carter’s secretary of state, McGeorge Bundy, had brokered a deal by which federal money could go to private schools if and only if those schools were not sectarian, divisive, discriminatory… something like that. And – by coincidence – all 21 Jesuit colleges took down their crucifixes from their classrooms in the year following that decision. So when he explained that to the students, the students were rather scandalized, and one said, “Oh, no, we wouldn’t do that for money.”
And he said, “Of course you wouldn’t, but I hope you got more than thirty pieces of silver this time.” Rather wicked… some of them were so biblically illiterate that he had to explain to them that Judas Iscariot was the first Catholic bishop to accept a government grant.
But then the student said, “No, we did that to be ecumenical.”
And then the Muslim chimed in.
“What is ecumenical?”
So the student said, “Oh, ecumenical means we think we’re all equal, and we didn’t want to discriminate against others, and offend outsiders.”
And the Muslim said, “You mean people like me, and my friend the Jew?”
“Well, yes.”
“Well, I am highly insulted.”
“Well, you’re treating me like a bigot.”
“No, we hate bigotry.”
“Let me explain. Suppose you came to my country. You enrolled in a Muslim university. Now we don’t have pictures or images; we think that’s idolatry, but when you are in a Muslim university, you know you are in a Muslim university. Who would object to a Muslim symbol in a Muslim university, except a bigot? Now you expect me to be offended by a Catholic symbol – the crucifix – in a Catholic university, so you are treating me like a bigot.”
Everyone was thinking.
He didn’t stop. He said to the students, “How many of you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?”
And most of them raised their hand.
He said, “Well, we Muslims don’t believe that; the Koran says that’s blasphemy, that’s ridiculous, but we have a great devotion to Jesus. We hardly ever mention his name without saying, ‘Blessed be he’ or ‘Blessed be his name’ and we think he’s one of the greatest men who ever lived, and he is a great prophet, and we love him and his mother Mary. And if we had pictures of him, we would never take them down, not for any money in the world. In fact,” he said, and he was now waxing eloquent, “what if some soldiers came into our classroom and said, ‘We demand that you take down this offensive picture of the prophet Jesus’? Every good Muslim would go in front of that picture and say, ‘You will take down this picture of our beloved prophet Jesus over our dead bodies. We would be glad to be martyrs for him.’ So I think we are better Christians than you are.”

J.R. Stoodley December 4, 2006 at 11:35 am

Interesting story Esau.
Regarding “Jesus is the reason for the season”, we have to admit that pagan solstice-related holidays (Saturnalia, Yule, etc.) preceded Christmas and the date of Christmas seems to have been designed to replace these holidays. Many of the customs surrounding Christmas and I think the general “Christmas spirit” come from these pre-Christian holidays. Other religions like Hinduism also have holidays around this time. In a way then you could say that the sun is the reason for the season.
On the other hand most of these traditions became specifically connected to Christianity before they were transfered to Jews celebrating Hanukah (which should be a very minor holiday for them) or stupid pagans trying to revive pre-Christian European religions.
Of course we Christians could say that the presence of such holidays in other religions and even the sybolism of the returning sun all point to Christ, but this is not a practical arguement to give to non-Christians.
Because of these complications I prefer the “keep Christ in Christmas” slogan to “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Only a bigot would object to “Merry Christmas” being said in a predominantly Christian culture, but I can understand not liking people telling you Jesus is the reason for your winter holiday.

bill912 December 4, 2006 at 12:04 pm

“…the date of Christmas seems to have been designed to replace these holidays.” JRS, please look at Jimmy’s above post on May 4, 2005 9:05AM: “Please cite some patristic sources saying this is what was going on.” And: “These kinds of references simply aren’t there. The early Church Fathers were rabidly anti-pagan and would have been apoplectic at the suggestion that they adopt pagan trappings in this manner.”

jimmy d December 11, 2006 at 7:48 am


jimmy d December 11, 2006 at 7:48 am


jimmy d December 11, 2006 at 7:49 am


jimmy d December 11, 2006 at 7:49 am


patrick December 11, 2006 at 8:22 am

Excuse me, why are Mr. Jimmy D’s posts multiple?

Tim J. December 11, 2006 at 8:23 am

Perhaps he has multiple personalities.

David B. December 11, 2006 at 11:01 am

Peter Is The Rock!!!!!!
I couldn’t resist, mate.

Esau December 11, 2006 at 11:28 am

Peter Is The Rock!!!!!!
Just like the Bob Seger’s song in the Chevy truck commercials, “Like A Rock!”

David B. December 11, 2006 at 11:38 am

I can see it now: Built. Lord. Tough.

sandrita mason December 20, 2006 at 11:03 am

This whole battle of “Merry Christmas vrs. Happy Holidays” seems to be saying that if the merchants simply say the phrase “Merry Christmas”, they’ll get a stamp of approval so that Christians will shop in their stores. This is a sanctioning of MATERIALISM, which is the real religion of America. All one has to do is observe media-newspapers, tv, radio, internet, etc-to see what really matters in this country. There’s no mention of spiritual matters in the ads and commercials. It’s buy me, buy me, what are you going to give me? If people really believed in Christianity, they wouldn’t need to fill themselves up with THINGS!!! Commercialism/Materialism is American’s religion-a false religion that’s leaving Americans empty and depressed. Real Christians would discourage the shop till you drop mania that consumes people this time of the year. Why aren’t you advocating a boycott of all merchants?

Esau December 20, 2006 at 11:05 am

Real Christians would discourage the shop till you drop mania that consumes people this time of the year. Why aren’t you advocating a boycott of all merchants?
Thank you for providing us with your definition of what a true Christian actually is!
Too bad most of the essential things I need in life requires the participation of merchants!

bill912 December 20, 2006 at 10:03 pm

Sandrita: The whole point of Jimmy’s post and many of the comments is the LACK of emphasis on JESUS, and the @#$%&* y– attitude many secularists have for Him and His followers.

kaneohe December 20, 2006 at 11:07 pm

What about the linking of Christmas and the celebration of the soldier’s god Mithras as Solis Invicti?
Unfortunately I cannot locate my 1903 English translation of Franz Cuzmont’s
book – I’ll keep looking – seem to recall Tertullian having something to say regarding the followers of Jesus and those of Mithras, plus other interesting quotes…
Sorry I can’t be more informative – perhaps someone else has some info about this..
Who’s not been returning those borrowed books??? Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!
The lending library will now require a finger for every book taken out…once the book is returned, so will be the finger.

Esau December 20, 2006 at 11:28 pm

Natalis Invicti. The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont’s epoch-making “Textes et Monuments” etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274. Filippo del Torre in 1700 first saw its importance; it is marked, as has been said, without addition in Philocalus’ Calendar. It would be impossible here even to outline the history of solar symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ in Jewish or Chrisian canonical, patristic, or devotional works. Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances; the texts are well arranged by Cumont (op. cit., addit. Note C, p. 355).
The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in Cypr., “De pasch. Comp.”, xix, “O quam præclare providentia ut illo die quo natus est Sol . . . nasceretur Christus.” – “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born . . . Christ should be born.” – In the fourth century, Chrysostom, “del Solst. Et Æquin.” (II, p. 118, ed. 1588), says: “Sed et dominus noster nascitur mense decembris . . . VIII Kal. Ian. . . . Sed et Invicti Natalem appelant. Quis utique tam invictus nisi dominus noster? . . . Vel quod dicant Solis esse natalem, ipse est Sol iustitiæ.” – “But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December . . . the eight before the calends of January [25 December] . . ., But they call it the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered’. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord . . .? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.” Already Tertullian (Apol., 16; cf. Ad. Nat., I, 13; Orig. c. Cels., VIII, 67, etc) had to assert that Sol was not the Christians’ God; Augustine (Tract xxxiv, in Joan. In P. L., XXXV, 1652) denounces the heretical indentification of Christ with Sol. Pope Leo I (Serm. xxxvii in nat. dom., VII, 4; xxii, II, 6 in P. L., LIV, 218 and 198) bitterly reproves solar survivals — Christians, on the very doorstep of the Apostles’ basilica, turn to adore the rising sun. Sun-worship has bequeathed features to modern popular worship in Armenia, where Chistians had once temporarily and externally conformed to the cult of the material sun (Cumont, op. cit., p. 356).
But even should a deliberate and legitimate “baptism” of a pagan feast be seen here no more than the transference of the date need be supposed. The “mountain-birth” of Mithra and Christ’s in the “grotto” have nothing in common: Mithra’s adoring shepherds (Cumont, op. cit., I, ii, 4, p. 304 sqq.) are rather borrowed from Christian sources than vice versa.

Esau December 20, 2006 at 11:29 pm

For further information on the Origins of Christmas:

bill912 December 21, 2006 at 6:00 am

We discussed above the idea that the early Church “baptised” pagan feasts. As Jimmy pointed out, there is no contemporary source stating that that was going on, and that the early Fathers of the Church had a horror of paganism and would have been apoplectic if that were going on.

Tim J. December 21, 2006 at 6:58 am

Here is a recent post from Mark Shea’s blog (actually an excerpt from one of his books) regarding Sol Invictus.
Guess what? Christians got there first. December 25th is a date related much more to the traditional Jewish method of dating the birth of prophets than to any pagan considerations.

Tim J. December 21, 2006 at 7:11 am
Harry B. March 2, 2007 at 6:30 am

Whilst employed at a Saudi university, I and the rest of the staff, whether infidel or Moslem Arab, received an official circular forbidding us to wish anybody “Merry Christmas”. This was on top of there being a universal prohibition on the sale of Christmas cakes with the word “Christmas” written on them in icing and the non-availability of greetings cards with the legend “Christmas greetings” and the like. Once I even had to teach on Christmas Day, which happened to fall on a Sunday to boot (Friday being the holy day in “God’s own country/ the Golden Cage”).
I become increasingly irked that Western countries, mainly Christian by culture if not always by conviction, are now masochistically compounding this outrageous intolerance by acting in similar fashion. In a way this is worse, because at least the Saudis do it out of faith, whether sincerely held or socially coerced, whereas the Western intolerance stems from pathologically exaggerated political correctness at best or grabbing commercialism at worst.
I should add in all fairness that few other Islamic countries behave in this fascist manner, and in some places in the Middle East, Christmas trees even appear in television studios, and Santa Claus (who really does not have much religious significance anyway) distributes goodies to eager young Arabs. I should also point out that some of my less hide-bound Saudi colleagues (shhh!)ignored the ban and did wish us “Merry Christmas” in any case.
I suppose I should really consider myself lucky, because, had we been in Afghanistan, the Taliban might have shot us for saying “Merry Christmas” in public.

bill912 March 3, 2007 at 6:58 am

I’ve long thought that the Saudis, the Talaban, and all like them must believe that Islam is a very weak religion that can’t stand up against other religions on a level playing field, which would be impossible for a religion that came from God, as they claim to believe that Islam does.

Barry B May 24, 2007 at 10:16 pm

My problem with it has always been its historical inaccuracy. Yeshua ben Ioseph (Jesus)wasn’t born in December, he was born during tax-time, near passover. That is and always has been March, folks. So sorry that y’all feel oh-so persecuted for ignoring historical correctness, but c’mon, you practically OWN this country. Christianity in this country once meant a general live-and-let-live feeling, until way too many preachers began getting political aspirations, like the late Rev. Falwell and certain others. It wasn’t until folks like him who wanted to completely tear-down the Freedom of Religion part of the Bill of Rights and make this country into a ‘Christian’ version of the Taliban that Christianity began getting a bad name here. My Grandmother was the prototypical real Christian, loving me despite our differences of faith. I don’t object to someone wishing me Merry Christmas, despite the fact that it’s the wrong time of the year, what I object to is some middle-management type telling me I HAVE to say it.
And I think this is the problem. We’re ALL too caught up in this, so what was once a friendly holiday greeting has become a mini Holy War right here in the USA. This is supposed to be ONE NATION, but certain individuals have hoodwinked us into petty arguments about under whose God it should be. Folks whose real goals are temporal, worldly, political power, rather than spiritual empowerment. Because as long as we keep squabling amongst ourselves over minor stuff like this, we won’t be watching them with thier hands in the political cookie-jar. It’s supposed to be “Love thine enemy”, not “hate the gays/jews/liberals” or whatever the televangelists are spewing this week. And as for Christmas itself? Me, I feel closer to my Creator near Easter, anyway.
Do I believe in Jesus Christ? That’s no-one’s business but mine. And it’s none of my business if you do or don’t. But if Yeshua was the messiah, I bet he’s looking down at all of us, shaking his heads at this whole mess.

bill912 May 26, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Barry B: Would you care to try to back up *anything* that you posted?

Barry B May 30, 2007 at 2:49 am

Well, for the last 3,000+ years, the Jewish calendar has remained stable, unlike the Anno Domini calendar, which even the Catholic church admits is probably off by +/- 6 years. The Roman occupational government of Judea kept the Judean tax schedule, which was approximately one week after Passover. Why do you think there was no room at the infamous inn? Everyone was in Bethlehem paying or attesting to the tax officials.
The church moved the celebration to December because when the Roman missionaries went north into Europe, those horrible pagans just wouldn’t give up their Yule celebrations.
As for my grandmother, I don’t think I should have to back up anything about her, but hey, if you want to ask her, get a shovel, she passed on about four years ago.
As for Falwell, come on, the man started his career preaching against desegregation and anything else that threatened the pre-sixties status quo, then in the 80’s railed at congress for placing sanctions against South Africa’s Apartheid regime.During th Cuban Missile Crisis, he called for a mass conversion to Christianity, otherwise, he claimed, the “Godless Reds” would conquer America. Then when Jim Bakker had his scandal, he was one of the first in line to denounce Bakker, then bought out the PTL Club and the 700 Club shows, using them to bolster his own political power-base, which has been documented multiple times of funding various PAC’s of jack Abramoff.
And to back up the final paragraph of my previous post, I’ll let a far better man than me say it:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should `make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” Thomas Jefferson, 1802.

bill912 May 30, 2007 at 4:24 am

Barry B: Please re-read Jimmy’s original post and the above comments. You will find a refutation of your claims as to why the Church celebrates Christmas in December.
What the heck the rest of your rant has to do with Christmas I can’t figure out.

Barry B May 30, 2007 at 10:28 am

Then be clear as to which part of the post you want me to ‘back up’.
As for the tone, I was in a particularly bad mood last night, for which I apologize.
BUT, however, different history books disagree over the facts concerning the era of Yeshua’s lifetime, and the motivations for the events therein.
What it has to do with Christmas, I stated in the first post, that everyone (myself included, looks like) gets to worked up in the whole debate, and it’s not just companies telling people not to say “Merry Christmas”, its also the companies DEMANDING you say “Merry Christmas” regardless of one’s own religious beliefs.
Quote: “I don’t object to someone wishing me Merry Christmas, despite the fact that it’s the wrong time of the year, what I object to is some middle-management type telling me I HAVE to say it.”
Even if I was still a practicing Baptist,I still would get pretty irked at that, because no-one in corporate America should be able to tell someone what their religious practices or observances should be. The problem goes both ways, folks.

Cory October 21, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Hmm. I’m not quite sure why you’re all so worked up about this. Nobody is taking Jesus out of the holidays, they’re just including other holidays as well – it’s not as if anybody is denying that Christmas is the largest holiday celebrated during the season. It’s true that one should be able to wish a merry Christmas on behalf of a company without getting in trouble, but that’s not really the fault of the companies – rather people that are ready to sue at the drop of a pin, which is a problem that extends far beyond this situation and into all parts of culture via forced political correctness. Other than that, I see no reason why ‘happy holidays’ should be offensive – it includes Christmas just as it includes other holidays of the season.
And I’m not sure what your problem is with Kwanzaa – you’re saying it presents being black as a religion? No more than black history month! It’s not a religious holiday, just a celebration of heritage! Just because it occurs around the same time as some other religious holidays, does not mean it is one as well…I know many people who celebrate both Kwanzaa and another religious holiday of whatever religion they belong to.

Mary October 22, 2007 at 8:23 am

Nobody is taking Jesus out of the holidays, they’re just including other holidays as well – it’s not as if anybody is denying that Christmas is the largest holiday celebrated during the season.
I have a bridge you might be interested in.

T December 5, 2007 at 7:05 pm

I agree with you. I am black and even though I don’t speak for all black people, to me Kwanzaa means nothing. Christmas represent my faith. If everyone is so against it then don’t get the two weeks off. I feel that they shouldn’t market it. I also feel that it gets worst every year… more people trying to purchase happiness and worth when it all doesn’t matter in the end. Every Christmas my heart hardens even more. It almost makes me ashamed that I enjoyed and anticipated gifts as a child.. but I was a child. If I ever decide to have children we are going to give for Christmas… This Christmas I am going to bless someone, just as Christ has blessed us all with His life and His grace. I hope that the world will change its ways and seek the only person who can give you eternal life JESUS!!!! GOD BLESS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS… JESUS WILL ALWAYS BE THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!!

The Duck that was Blue December 11, 2007 at 9:47 pm

While Jesus is the reason for the season where Christians are concerned, what’s wrong with also recognizing other people’s celebrations?
So Hanukkah isn’t a super-important holiday on the Jewish calendar. Jews still celebrate it in December. Why not wish them good tidings?
Neo-pagans celebrate the solstice at almost the exact same time as Christmas. Maybe you don’t approve of their religion, but maybe they don’t like yours, either. We’re all just people. Why not wish them a happy holiday too?
Kwanzaa is an ethnic celebration for African Americans. It might not be a religious holiday, but it’s still a legitimate and cheerful celebration for those who choose to take part in it. Why not wish them well?
Listing every holiday that takes place in the winter would make for expensive signs. These businesses are just trying to be inclusive of more people. No one is taking Christ out of Christmas. They’re just acknowledging that there are other celebrations this time of year, too. No one is taking anything out of anything. They’re adding something. It’s called diversity and it’s a big part of what makes this country great. Are we so intolerant that we would ask a retailer to pick one holiday to the exclusion of all others?
The weather is cold enough. Let’s show a little warmth.

bill912 December 12, 2007 at 4:45 am

Thanks for letting us know that you didn’t understand a thing that you read above.
Or maybe you just didn’t want to.

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sergio flores May 4, 2008 at 11:42 pm

I´m tired of us Christians being told how we should be tolerant and inclusive. How about others being tolerant to Christianity for a change?
Appologists of the “Happy Holidays” say that switching from Crhistmass to “holiday” is a way of being inclusive of other cultures. But there is not an “inclusive” festivity called Holiday in late December which gathers people of all creeds. Instead, Christians gather with other Chrstians to celebrate Christmass; Jews celebrate Hanukah with other Jews; heathens celebrate winter solstice, or Saturnalia, or whatever, with other heathens; and atheists stay home by themselves feeling sorry for themselves. However, it is only Christians who are deemed exclusive and intolerant for having a cellebration of their own.
“T” says that by substituting Christmass for holiday, retailers are just aknowlledging that there are other celebrations in the same time of the year in which Christmass happens. But it would be more precise to say that retailers aknowlledge every other cellebration but Christmass. They can still sell Hanukah and Kwanzaa stuff without tagging everything Christmass “holiday”.
I´m afraid this “holiday” deal is more about an intolerant hatred towards Christianity than about being inclusive. If a Christian was to be offended because a Jew says “Happy Hanukah”, he would be called intolerant. But if a Jew or more likely, an atheist, felt offended because a Christian says “Merry Christmass”, the Christian would be called intolerant. A blaspehmous mockery of Christianity by a Christian would be called freedom of expression if not art; criticism by a Christian of a non Christian religon would be called intolerant, if not condemned as a hate crime.

sergio flores May 4, 2008 at 11:47 pm

In my previous post I made a mistake. I wrote “a blasphemous mockery of Christianity by a Christian…”. “A blasphemous mockery of Christianity by a non Christian…” is what I wanted to write.

bddblue January 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm
christmas trees were symbols of light and growth in the house at the darkest night of the year, the winter solstice. it was originally a pagan tradition that the church campaigned hard against. Nowadays the church has adopted it, and I just think theyre beautiful and smell good, not something to get all fussed about.

bill912 January 20, 2009 at 6:20 am

Sigh! Read the above comments before posting. You’ve already been refuted.

Bet April 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I would not feel offended in any way if I lived in a Jewish country and they said “Happy Hanukah” a lot. It would be the culturally appropriate thing to do.
The United States is a melting pot of many different ethnicities, but mostly Christian ones. Does anyone know the percentage of people who celebrate Christmas in the United States? I would bet it’s pretty high. Therefore it is not insensitive for retailers to say “Merry Christmas” especially when they are benefitting from this holiday.
* * *
Mary Christmas!
Jesus Joseph and Mary Christmas!!

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