I say “Merry Christmas” to people. I’m a Christian, I celebrate Christmas and, as much as I’m able, I try to keep the December festivities centred on Jesus. However, I am not offended when people say “Happy Holidays” to me.
I don’t demand that people of different faiths start saying “Praise the Lord” instead of “thank you”. I don’t care if someone doesn’t bless me after I sneeze. (In fact, I would be most grateful if folks would adopt the Seinfeldism of responding to a sneeze with a hearty ”You are so good-lookin’!”) And I just don’t think it’s worth the hassle of trying to theologize people into saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”.
If the goal is to keep Christ in Christmas, I think we’re defeating the purpose when we get all up in someone’s face over them saying something polite to us.
If you want to get offended for Christ’s sake, do something to fight the sex trade industry. Or contribute to making clean water accessible to more people. Or feed the poor. Or adopt an orphan. Or visit a prisoner. You know…all those things that Jesus Himself told us to do in order to show how much we love Him.
If it makes you feel better, you can still wear your “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” sweatshirt while you’re at it.
So next time a cashier or barista wishes you a happy holiday, smile warmly and say “Praise the Lord!” (or perhaps just “thank you”). You might even say, “I hope you have a wonderful holiday as well.” I think Jesus would be pleased.