The following is written by Russ Holtz of The Summit church:
The Bible says that near the end times there will be wars and rumors of wars. We must be nearing the end because it seems people are willing to fight over just about anything and everything. Now, in the beginning of the 21st century, right at Christmas time, the season of peace, we have (drumroll please) The Greeting Wars.
You, gracious reader, must remember the Bible verse that says, “Thou shalt not saith, ‘Happy Holidays’ thou must saith, ‘Merry Christmas.’” You don’t remember that one? Well, neither do I, but it must be in there based on all the passion this topic brings out in some people. My soul, I’ve even heard people say they wouldn’t shop at certain stores because the check-out person didn’t give the right benediction to their shopping experience.
So, I ask myself, what, in the name of all that’s holy, is the problem? Ah ha, then I discover that is the problem. It’s the word “holy.” Many people have never connected the word holy with the word holiday. So, in case you are one of these, with the help of Wikipedia, the great purveyor of absolute truth, let me explain. “The word holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg (hālig “holy” + dæg “day”). The word originally referred only to special religious days.”
So, when the clerk says, “Happy Holiday,” he or she is actually saying, “Happy Holy Day.” And, since we, as Christians, recognize Christmas as our holiest of days… well you get the picture.
But there is a problem with this whole subject. Do we actually enter a Target, or Walmart, or Fred Meyer expecting to receive an inspirational message? Aren’t we the ones supposed to be the purveyors of light? Are we really expecting the overworked, underpaid store employee to offer us a personal devotional moment after ringing up our purchases? Oh, it is delightful to hear a cheerful “Merry Christmas” after giving some giant chain store all my money. I love hearing it. But, we hear it less and less. But many times after hearing “Happy Holidays,” when I respond with, “Thank you, and a Merry Christmas to you,” the clerk will smile and return the salutation.
Yes, I too wish that all the stores and all their employees were bearers of the Christmas message while they take our money. Wouldn’t it be nice to be treated so specially while we buy gifts for our family and friends? It would be nice if they put a Bible verse printed on a Hallmark Card in our bags, too.
But let’s get this right my brothers and sisters. Starbucks is not a religious institution. The barista is not paid to be our spiritual guide and the cups are not intended to be Our Daily Bread. The person wearing the apron is there to make our mocha, put it in a paper container and take our money. We are the ones responsible to offer the message of Christmas: love, joy, peace and hope. We are the ones responsible for the joy-filled greeting offered with a smile and a gentle spirit.
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I think that especially applies at Christmas. So, may your days be merry and bright. And may all your salutations be right.
Ha! Merry Christmas and I pray all your days will be holy.
See ya in church.