Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another year of "The War on Christmas" is over...Thankfully!

I may be dating myself but I'm old enough to remember when saying "Merry Christmas" wasn't considered a pejorative term.  And to wish someone"Happy Holidays" was not seen as "selling out" or diluting Christmas in any way but was simply the catch all phrase that encompassed the season from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.

But now America seems to be involved another war.  This is a war that has been raging for decades with major battles being played out every November and December.  On one side is the traditionalist who, in a world gone mad, desperately want to keep the CHRIST in Christmas!  And on the other side are all the others who want to diversify things a bit and who, lets be honest, probably have a little to much time on their hands.

Yes, it is the yearly fights involving the "War on Christmas."

Although for the most part I find the "War"... comical, I must admit chafing a little when I would hear some major store chain banning their employees from saying, Merry Christmas.  I can at least understand the argument about having a nativity scene displayed on a public ground (even if I don't agree with it.)  But banning someone's speech involving a holiday greeting...mmmm, that just gets under my skin!

From 2005 till 2008 I worked at Barnes & Noble and fortunately they had no policy on the matter so typically I would wish customers a Merry Christmas.  It was there that I realized that this "War" is indeed played out mostly by people with too much time on their hands as I literally wished thousands of customers "Merry Christmas" over my 3 Christmas tenure there and I had, maybe, two minor incidents where people said they didn't appreciate that.  Now understand this wasn't at a Barnes & Noble tucked away all snug in the Bible Belt, no, this was Boulder, Colorado.  Yes, the Boulder Colorado that didn't vote for Al Gore in 2000 because he was to conservative and where Buddhism is the religion de jour.  If they weren't offended, well, it made me wonder how much "War" there really was.

I did always wonder though why there weren't more nativity scenes in major department stores??  I mean, if you are an executive for Target or Wal-Mart, you must be thanking God every fiscal sales year that a little Jewish boy was born in a  Middle Eastern farm stable 2000 years ago.  Come to think of it, instead of a War on Christmas in the retail sector, there should probably be big "Thank You Jesus" signs at every chain department store across America .

That reminds me again of my Barnes & Noble days.  I would often have a customer look at the December bedlam in the store and comment, "Wow, it's really busy in here."
"Yeah," I would reply,  "well, you know...its Kwanzaa...happens every year."
The customer would smile awkwardly as they processed that little nugget...and then move on.

But I live in Hong Kong again!  I am safe from the battles!  There is no "War on Christmas" over here...just Christmas.  The city is decked out with Christmas trees & lights.  Some buildings say "Merry Christmas" and others say, "Season's Greetings"  with no venom or ill intention found in either one.  The malls are filled with school choirs singing both Santa Claus is coming to Town AND Away in the Manger!

It's much more peaceful and probably a little more what Jesus had in mind!


Bob said...

Couldn't have said it better myself, Steve.

Hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas. Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays to all.

Steve H. said...

Thanks Bob! Merry Christmas and God Bless to you and your family!