We have to be careful today when we wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ as the word ‘Christmas’, apparently, offends many non-Christians.
This political correctness has gone to extremes in some areas of Canada as some schools now have a Winter Break instead of Christmas Holidays; some department stores have banned employees from saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to customers and Christmas parades have been renamed Holiday parades in some towns and cities.
Maybe this political correctness has gone a tad too far.
While Christians celebrate Christmas mainly as representing the birth of Jesus, many of the Christmas traditions such as the tree, candles, the wreath, the Yule log, gift giving and feasting and having a few cold ones go back to the dawn of history and were held long, long before Jesus was on earth.
The pagan Scandinavian people of northern Europe celebrated a 12-day long ‘midwinter’ holiday called Yule or Jul as is still called in those countries today. Back in those days the winter solstice began on December 25, the shortest day of the year and the day that marks the point from which days become longer again.
As a matter of fact, early Christian leaders tried to ban those pagan celebrations, as they could be rowdy and boisterous. However, the church leaders discovered they could not end the ancient celebrations held around this time of year so, beginning in the fourth century, they tied the period in with the birth of Jesus which they determined was December 25. With that decision the customs evolved into the Christmas celebrations we hold toady.
Another fact is that no one really knows when Jesus was born. It may not have been even in December, let alone December 25.
But that’s Ok –we have taken the traditions, given them a Christian touch, adopted other customs such as Santa Claus and Christmas cards and made it all into the Christmases we know today.
So, I don’t know whey other religious groups are offended when we say ‘Merry Christmas’.
Christmas is really about family anyway, and I guess anyone can celebrate being with their family and enjoying some good quality time with their siblings and other relatives. Well, most of us can anyway.
People of all denominations can also wish their neighbours good luck in the New Year and happiness at this time of year. What’s wrong with that?
Christmas is also a celebration of the continuation of life as the ancient peoples realized that, even though this time of the year is darker than summer, it was the period when the days, as noted, began getting longer again. The spring and summer would return and life would go on again.
So, let’s stop trying so hard to hide the word Christmas. It’s certainly not a bad word and maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place if more people around the world used the word around this time of year.
And besides, if we ban the word Christmas, what do we call the many songs and titles we have with the word Christmas in the title or in the lyrics?
Someone would have to sing: “I’m dreaming of a white Day after December 24.”
“I’ll be home for the non-denominational winter day” doesn’t sound quite right either.
“I’ll have a blue Day just before December 26th without you.”
What about the famous “Mummer’s Song” by Bud Davidge?
Don’t seem like that non-denominational festivities day if the mummer’s are not here – nah, doesn’t sound right to me.
Look, the point is anyone can enjoy Christmas – it’s a time of the year when we celebrate life, get out and socialize a little more, have fun, have a few cold ones and enjoy each others company.
How could anyone be offended by that?
And, oh, by the way, Merry Christmas, everyone.