I Said, “Happy Holidays!”

Aaron Burden,

Some people get all bent out of shape by use of the phrase “happy holidays.” I suppose it’s because they prefer others greeted them exclusive with the phrase “merry Christmas” this time of year or not at all. Personally, it makes me happy when people wish me good tidings of great joy (or any amount, for that matter). As a longtime Christian, I use happy holidays frequently and do not feel that I am being coerced into recognizing other people’s faith choices. Truth is, their choices still exist whether I recognize them or not. Nor do I feel that I shun, diminish, or deny my faith in the birth of Christ by using a generic greeting. So why get my garland in a twist over someone else’s decision to believe otherwise?

You see, my circle of family, friends and associates is wide and varied. As such, it includes people of varied religious stripes; including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sihks, Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, the undecided, the disinterested, those seeking, and even a Wiccan. This group includes evangelists, a lama, ministers, pastors, preachers, priests, ministers, rabbis, but no imams yet (only because I haven’t had the opportunity to build a relationship with one). And I value them all for their inherent humanity and what we learn from one another.

My conscious decision to use this all-purpose, seasonal salutation on occasion is rooted in inclusion. Most people would agree that with the widespread observance of Christmas — both Christian and secular versions—comes the inherent wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward our fellow human being; but there are also those who, for their own reasons, choose not to participate. So, in lieu of a faith matrix (I wonder if there’s an app for that) to tell me where someone might fall on the faith continuum, I opt for the generic, happy holidays which is meant to include everyone.

Confession: my intent when using either phrase is to extend the same blessing of abounding hope, love, joy, peace, and goodwill regardless of their identified faith. And I do so in a manner that is imbued with no less sincerity than when I extend the merry Christmas salutatory in circles comprised exclusively of Christians.

I don’t know . . . call me crazy, but from where I stand, I believe that Christ doesn’t mind I include others—even those who are not of his flock—in my attempt to extend his radical love. After all, that’s why he came here in the first place.

Happy holidays!

(Because we’re not having the what do you believe conversation at the moment, but we can always chat about it over a peppermint mocha.)

Love one another.