The following was written by a dear friend, Randall Wisdom, and submitted to the Commercial Appeal (Memphis) a few years ago. My thanks to “Papa Wiz” for giving me permission to share his work here. I think it speaks directly, succinctly, and appropriately to our current times. And so, Merry Christmas!….and Mary Christmas!…to all who embrace and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Emmanuel!
When I was a boy … an admittedly ominous way to begin a sentence … “Merry Christmas” flowed as effortlessly and as naturally as did the bidding of, “Goodnight.” When came the traditional, if arbitrary, date which marked the birth of Christ, it seemed the obvious thing to say; and, even my Jewish friends accepted that the words were well intended.
But, increasingly, I am offered, “Happy Holidays”, which is the one size fits all; and, what holidays, exactly, are being alluded to? If the reference is to Christmas, why need it be so tangential? And, if not to Christmas … why not? After all, it is Christmas. One might suppose that so long as Passover is called, “Passover” … and Ramadan is “Ramadan” … Christmas ought be “Christmas.”
While it has grown distorted and trivialized by commercialism, Christmas still is Christmas. Certainly, those who reject this Christian holiday need not join in its celebration. They needn’t waste their money on gifts … even though the practice of gift giving is without ecclesiastical basis, in any case … unless one extrapolates the actions of the Magi all the way to the mall.
Nor, ought they absent themselves from work for the commemoration of that which they do not believe. They should toil on until the coming of a day which, for them, has meaning.
Political Correctness would have the name of Christmas changed so that it is all-inclusive. It should welcome all religions … or none. But the word, Christmas, bears the name of Christ; and, one ought embrace Him … or ignore Christmas. Don’t wish me, “Happy Holidays” when everyone knows that it’s Christmas.