Michael B Linton

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Merry Christmas" is for Christians

I've read and heard a lot about the debate over "Merry Christmas" in businesses, companies, etc. and decided to add my two cents to the conversation. I see the point of most of the sides of this argument, so I'll try to address each.

I agree that the loss of "Merry Christmas" shows the further secularization of America and I don't like that. The question we must ask, though, is "Is this a battle worth fighting?" Is it one we can win? Is it one we need to worry about winning? I'm not taking a defeatist stance and saying we can't stop the tide, so don't try. (Though we can't stop the tide. Read Revelation.) What I am saying is we may need to re-evaluate where we are using our resources. Ed Stetzer said it well that we should be more worried about telling people about Jesus rather than making them say Merry Christmas.

Another point about this battle is that it doesn't affect our evangelism. How many people will have their eternity affected negatively if Lowe's sells holiday trees instead of Christmas trees? There are definite battles that do have implications on people's salvation: evolution, abortion, redefining marriage. These are issues that are gospel-centered. What greeting we use at Christmas is not. We must focus on what gets people saved (or hinders salvation, morality, etc.), not what just ruffles our feathers.

Besides, can we truly expect secular organizations, often led by people indifferent to the theological reason for Christmas, to focus on the spiritual impact of the season? We can't. We scoff at people that obviously "say the right things" (hallelujah, praise God, etc.) in church or around pastors when we know good and well that they have no concept of salvation through Jesus Christ. They are merely going through motions and we don't approve. So why should we demand it of businesses that are merely going through motions so as to not lose money from boycotting Christians?

I daresay we are, in a sense, asking them to take God's name in vain, using the original meaning of the commandment. They are taking the name of Jesus (Christ-mas) in a way that is purely meant to positively affect their bottom line. Wouldn't that fall into the definition of taking God's name in vain (no purpose other than personal benefit)?

Let them say "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings." As Christians worshipping the Savior whose birth we celebrate, we'll say "Merry Christmas." And smile when you do it. Until there is a law that says we can't. When that day comes, we have bigger issues than our favorite Christmas greeting.