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Posted 12/18/13 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Every December the subject of whether or not we should be wishing people that we meet a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Holiday” seems to come up, just as does the discussion as to whether or not the tree that we decorate and put presents under should be called a Christmas Tree or a Holiday Tree.
While the debate has been going on for years about the correct way to address the season, it is important to point out a couple of observations on the discussion.
First, for most of the western Christian world, the Christmas season is about celebrating the birth of Christ. It is not about Santa Claus or any of the other commercial aspects that go along with the holiday shopping season. And far too often these two concepts are mixed and intertwined which leads to a lot of the confusion.
For the United States, which was founded as a Christian nation, being able to say “Have a Merry Christmas” should be something that all Christians feel comfortable in greeting others with. And those people receiving the greeting, whether they are Christian or not, should not be offended by the greeting.
But that all-inclusiveness seems to be where many who are not of the Christian faith, and even some of those who are, seem to have a problem. They would prefer that “Merry Christmas” be taken out of the season and be replaced with “Happy Holidays.”
The United States affords everyone the freedom to follow their own faith and to observe their traditional holiday. And because of that, somewhere along the way, American society decided that wishing someone a happy holiday like Christmas was offensive.
Second, saying “Merry Christmas,” is not meant to be offensive to Jews, Muslims, atheists or anyone else who doesn’t wish to observe the holiday. For Christians, it is calling the holiday simply what it is. Some would argue that by saying “Happy Holidays,” that nobody will be left out and it will be politically correct. But for Christians taking Christmas out of the greeting eliminates the reason that we are celebrating the season in the first place. And that reason is Christ.
So this Christmas season, if you are so inclined, go ahead and say, “Merry Christmas.” There is absolutely nothing wrong in doing so.