It’s no surprise that “Merry Christmas” has long been replaced by “Happy Holidays” in order to avoid discriminating against other religions. But do people really care? How offensive can “Merry Christmas” actually be? Regardless of your answer, here is a why a politically correct Christmas will never work…
When you read the Christmas story about the birth of Christ, you quickly realize it was anything but a politically correct holiday. In fact, it was an event that was offensive to most. King Herod wanted to eliminate Christmas (c.f. Matthew 2:16). The Magi had to face political risk to celebrate Christmas (c.f. Matthew 2:1-4). Even Joseph and Mary found themselves being ostracized by family members (c.f. Matthew. 1:18-19). All this to say, Christmas has never been a politically correct event and attempts to challenge and dismiss it, are nothing new. Why?
1. Christmas Exposes Sin
Matthew 1:21 – She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
When the angel appeared to both Joseph and Mary, the message was clear. Jesus came to save us from our sins. In other words, the Christmas story is not some romantic fairy tale reflected by wonderful music and a cute manger scene. No, Christmas is a rescue mission conducted by God to save us from our sins. This means, we are at risk without Christmas and need saving.
Most people don’t like to think about themselves as being sinners and would rather focus on trying to be a good person. The idea of needing a savior implies you can’t save yourself and can feel offensive, but that is the truth behind Christmas. Why would God send a savior if we didn’t need it? To process this requires deep reflection and humility, which can often be painful which most people resist. It is much easier to say “Happy Holidays” and move on assuming everything will turn out okay.
2. Christmas Highlights Risk
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The reason Christmas took place was to save us from our sin and eternal separation from God. In other words, Christmas not only offers the promise of heaven but also highlights the risk of hell (see my blog post, Hell No!). Again, most people don’t like to think about dying let alone the risk of going to hell. In fact, to even mention this topic could be offensive and imply that someone isn’t a good person. Of course, the truth is we aren’t good enough but that doesn’t matter, it is much more comfortable to believe everyone will go to heaven and leave it at that. Unfortunately, that would make Christmas meaningless because we wouldn’t need a savior. Celebrating Christmas is all about celebrating God’s sacrificial love for us even when we don’t deserve it. This is what makes it a “Merry” Christmas.
So no matter how much you may try to edit a seasonal greeting or try not to offend others, the true meaning of Christmas will never be politically correct. It never has been and never will be.