I'm on a "Merry Christmas" mission and I'm in full throttle. My
little yellow VW Beetle has turned into a Christmas billboard
with Merry Christmas written across the back window. Yes, I've decided
to trek off to work everyday on the public highways with a message
that seems to offend people.
At stop lights, I even turn my music up a little louder, and to
top it off, I sing along with it. Don't I know that stopping at a
red light to roll my windows down only to share the joy of
Christmas carols on public streets is a No-No? Don't I fear the
Christmas Gestapo and those who would have me remove the written
message from my car?
I'm sorry folks, but the only person I'm concerned about
"offending" during this Christmas season is the Lord himself.
LEAVE THAT MANGER ALONE! We've allowed the Baby Jesus to be kicked
out of His lowly manger, and those offended by Christmas are still
I refuse to let this happen. I'm going to do my part to make sure
"Merry Christmas" doesn't become extinct. Because like it or not,
if the believers in Christmas don't take a stand *now*, it's gone
I walked into a Wendy's Restaurant the other day and was rather
exuberant with my "Merry Christmas" greeting to the manager. He
didn't have much of a response and I said, "Where's your Christmas
spirit?" He said, "We're not allowed to use the words "Merry
Christmas" when greeting customers. We can only say "Happy Holiday."
This morning I grabbed a quick breakfast at a Whataburger
Restaurant. I noticed there wasn't a single decoration in the
store. I asked the manager why they weren't decorated for
Christmas. He told me the corporate headquarters decided not to
send any decorations to any of their stores, and he didn't know why.
After I heard about all the Macy's and Federated Stores taking
down their Merry Christmas signs, the Target stores not allowing
the Salvation Army to "Ring the Christmas bells," and the many
incidents of children, choirs, and bands not allowed to play or
sing Christmas carols, I realized it was happening right here in
my own little Texas town. How can this be? Not Texas!
We do, however, have a store, Hobby Lobby, that plays nothing but
Christmas carols during the season. On Christmas Day they run a
full page ad in our local newspaper. That ad is not to promote the
store, but uses the entire page to tell the story of Jesus' birth.
Now that's taking a stand. We need to thank them.
When I saw a news report the other evening of children being
taught new words to a song we've sung for years - "We Wish You a
Merry Christmas" - I was saddened to hear "We Wish You a Splendid Holiday."
I know now that it's just a matter of time that the "Merry
Christmas" greetings will be gone. Look around your town. Notice
the "Holiday" greetings and not "Christmas." It's happening right
before our very eyes.
Start singing the songs; go down the streets of America singing to
your heart's content. Get some of those wash-off markers that
these kids use to write on their car windows when they're rooting
for their hometown football team. It's easy to do, and if a
torrential rain washes it off, write it on there again.
We've got to get this message out. "Go Tell It On the Mountain . .
that Jesus Christ is Born." Sing it, speak it, be a billboard
for our Lord.
The story of this "Baby Jesus" alone has brought about more
goodwill at this time of year than any other day we celebrate. How
can we sit back and allow Him to be snuffed out of our lives?
Is it Jesus, or is it His followers that the "offended" don't
like? What kind of revulsion galvanizes one to campaign so
vehemently against the mere mention of His name, the mere singing
of a carol, or the mere visual of a sign that says "Merry
I can listen to my own boss at work use some of the vilest words
and follow up with, "Excuse my French." I may cringe inside at his
damning of God's name, but I tolerate it. So if you don't like me
wishing you a "Merry Christmas," I'll say, "Excuse my joy." You
may cringe that I celebrate the birth of Jesus, but just tolerate
I cannot be concerned that "Merry Christmas" offends you. If I'm
not careful, the day will come when saying I'm a Christian will
offend you. I'm offended that you're offended. How about that?
When we get to a point that we can no longer take part in a
tradition we hold dear, we have no choice; we either defend that
tradition or we give it up to those who say NO. That's it . . .
period. So, which will it be?
I'm not giving up my "Merry Christmas" joy to anyone. If I know of
someone that celebrates another holiday during this time of year,
I will be glad to wish them whatever holiday they want. Just tell
me what it is and I'll wish you a grand celebration.
Just give me Christmas. To you merchants: Stop being so
hypocritical and "filling your tills" on the back of Jesus! Who do
you think is the symbol of giving at this time of year? It was the wise
men bringing gifts to the newborn Christ-child.
You want your coffers full, but have ordered your employees to
take down all the Merry Christmas signs. If that's the case, I'll
buy gifts at a place that understands my joy.
If you're worried about offending someone, you just did. The most
recent Newsweek survey shows that 82% of Americans believe that
Jesus is the Son of God. So, in trying not to offend a few, you've
It's okay to jump into the "Merry Christmas" spirit when it fills
your cash register, but let's call it something else . . . and
don't stop giving . . . and don't stop buying. . . we'll just
change the name and you'll never know the difference.
I know the difference and I'm feeling it greatly. It's hard not to
be aware that townships across our country have actually banned
the singing of Christmas carols because it might offend someone.
And it's not just the religious songs; it's the secular ones too.
No more "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
because they're associated with Christmas. Boy, aren't we getting
sensitive? If we're not celebrating Christmas for the hope it gives
with the birth of our Savior . . . there is no hope!
I noticed a few years ago that we changed the name of Abraham
Lincoln's and George Washington's birthday so as to be all
inclusive regarding the Presidents. Hark, if we should recognize
anyone as exceptional. Now it's called Presidents' Day.
Well, if we're going to be so all inclusive, next month I'll have
to refer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as Civil Rights
Leaders' Day. We don't want to exclude great Americans like Rosa
Parks or Cesar Chavez, do we?
We might need to change Mother's Day, Father's Day, and
Grandparents' Day to All Parents' Day. Just lump them all together.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? So what's the difference?
My freedom to celebrate Christmas in the tradition of the
Christian religion is as much my right as it is your right to be
offended by it. So what are we going to do? Did anyone hear me . .
What are we going to do?
Do we defend a person's right to go forward with a time tested
tradition (how about 2000 years?), or do we defend a person's
right to end it all because they're offended? As long as we live
in this great land and have the freedom to express ourselves and
what we believe in, we will always offend someone.
If we try to make everything right for everyone, we won't have
anything for anyone.
* May you always have Christmas in your heart! *
© December 13, 2004