*Another presentation in the KIR continuing series of articles of the Steppin’ On The Feet Jesus Washed (SOTFJW) Project-Mission!
What’s wrong with saying Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings instead of Merry Christmas? Nothing at all! If you know history or bother to research the reasons for why some people prefer to use Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings in their verbal holiday salutations or greeting cards then perhaps you too, will understand and appreciate the terms much more. Some of the religious readers of this blog need to do the same research. It’ll save them from copping an attitude or getting their panties in a bunch whenever they say or hear Merry Christmas spoken to someone and then hear the return reply of Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings.
I know it makes many christians upset when they don’t hear Merry Christmas used as much anymore, particularly in the media. They feel that Christ, the so-called “reason for the season” has been taken out of Christmas. Nothing could be further from the truth! Christmas is still…CHRISTmas! Never mind the term “X-mas” either! Neither the word ‘X-mas’ or the holiday salutation ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’ or variations of these, is necessarily meant to rob anyone of their beliefs in Jesus Christ, Christmas or anything associated with the two. If Jesus himself had a problem with it I think He would have done something about it long before now! The problem many christians have with Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings is that they tend to believe that the entire month of December is all about them – and of course, the birth of Jesus Christ. Well, this is true for the most part – and perhaps true to the majority of people who live in other nations practicing christian religions. However to many others, it isn’t just about the christian religion or just about Jesus Christ – and therein is the problem where once again, we have a case of religious selfishness by the Christian right!
For years, people have been saying a variation of holiday salutations and even singing songs with the words ‘happy holidays’ or ‘season’s greetings’ in the lyrics. Giving holiday salutations without having the name Christ or the word “Christmas” implies no disrespectful tone against Jesus Christ, Christianity, or the Christian religion. It’s use is neither disparaging of the (formerly pagan) date of December 25 chosen to observed the birth of Jesus Christ, nor does it take away from Christmas itself.
Many people often prefer to say Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings instead of Merry Christmas not necessarily because they might not believe in Jesus Christ or Christmas (which is a person’s choice!) but because many are aware that saying Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings is being mindful and respectful of those other spiritually significant days in December where both religious and interfaith holy periods occur beginning the first week in December through to January 1 worldwide. These holiday salutations encompasses all of those days because many people do not celebrate Christmas (again, their choice!), many people are not Jewish and many others happened to be Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and even Zoroastrians. Of course, people who use these salutations may have other reasons for their preference of holiday salutations but really, that’s irrelevant as it has no bearing on christians, Christianity or Christmas whatsoever!
Here is a sample list of spiritually significant days in December for this year:
- Sunday, December 2, 2012
Advent (First Sunday) (Christian)
The Christian Church year begins with advent (meaning coming or arrival), which is also a time when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.
- Sunday, December 8, 2012
Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) (Buddhism)
This day commemorates the date of Siddhartha Gautama’s realization and presentation of the Four Noble Truths.
- Sunday, December 9-Sunday, December 16, 2012
Hanukkah (Fest of Lights) (Jewish)
In approximately 164 B.C, the Maccabees, a small group of Jews fighting for religious freedom, won victory over the Syrians. Upon returning to the Temple, they found only one jar of oil to light the eternal light. In spite of the shortage of oil, the eternal light stayed lit for eight days. A special eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah is lit over this period to celebrate the eight-day miracle.
- Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Christmas Day (Christian)
On this day, Christians honor the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. This is the most widely observed Christian festival of the year. People celebrate it by exchanging gifts, decorating homes and communities with lights and ornaments, and attending parties and meals.
- Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Eastern Orthodox Christmas (Eastern Orthodox)
Members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth on this day.
- Wednesday, December 26, 2012 to Thursday, January 1, 2013
Wanting to encourage African-Americans to celebrate and honor their rich heritage, Professor Maulana Karenga founded Kwanzaa in 1966. The holiday, which means ‘first fruit’ in Swahili, is made up of seven principles: unity, self-determination, working together, sharing, purpose, creativity, and faith. Seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones: mazao (crops), mkeka (mat), kinara (candle holder), muhindi (corn), mishumaa Saba (seven candles), kikombe cha umoja (unity cup), zawadi (gifts), bendera (flag), nguzo saba poster (poster of the seven principles) communicate these values. Candles are lit on each consecutive night in a seven-branched candelabrum. The lighting of each candle represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Black, red and green symbolize Kwanzaa. Black represents the people, red signifies their struggle, and green stands for the future and the hope that emanates from the struggle.
Let’s get educated, stop being so sensitive and trying to make people feel guilty for the holiday salutation they prefer to use!