One morning when walking beside a railway, between the tracks and the highway, I began to think about the concept of “easements” such as the one where I was walking.
An easement is a buffer area between the locomotives and the nearby automobile traffic. It allows them both to go their way without worrying that they might get too close and collide.
In years past, during this “happiest time of the year” between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day I have frequently been irritated by the substitution of the generic, “Happy Holidays!” for the traditional, and more meaningful, “Merry Christmas!” I know there are many others who share my annoyance at those who attempt to remove Christ from Christmas. He is so completely the reason for the season, to me and my fellow believers, that we sometimes feel we must defend his right to be the center of the celebration. However, letting ourselves become angry about it is not an especially Christian thing to do.
For Christians, Jesus is always the center of this holy day. Should being wished a happy holy day offend us?
For better or worse, to many people Christmas is a cultural winter celebration, based loosely upon the stories of Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.
Perhaps we Christians need to establish an easement in our attitudes that will allow us to return the greeting, “Happy Holidays,” with a cheerful, “Thank you. And a joyous holy day season to you!” Getting our feathers ruffled benefits neither the season nor its reason.
Do you take umbrage when the store clerk says, “Have a nice day” and doesn’t really seem to mean it? Most people give no more thought to their holiday greetings than they do to that ubiquitous pleasantry. They are simply trying to be polite. Being chastised, even with an emphatic, “Merry CHRISTMAS, to you!”, is undeserved.
This time of peace and goodwill would be much better served by setting a Christ-like example in all our relationships. No one has ever been coerced into salvation, but many have been brought to Christ through the genuine love and respect of a Christian.
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holy Days to you in this precious Advent season.
43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.Matthew 5:44-47 (MSG)