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The War on Christmas

"Happy Holidays?" No

In December of 2021 I posted on Twitter:

Note to unbelievers: please do not wish me "Happy Holidays". Just don't say anything.

To a Christian, "Happy Holiday" is an insult, an attempt to appear friendly but showing such extreme antipathy that even saying "Christmas" would leave a foul taste in your mouth.

It's sort of like going up to a black person saying "I'm pleased to meet you," then putting one gloves and shaking hands. Just stick to "I'm pleased to meet you."

I know this sounds unmannerly and touchy. Indeed, it requires some mental effort for me to respond this way, because I, like you, have been trained to respond graciously to slights and that the Christian should shrug them off. We are a society where honor and holiness has been redirected. You may insult dress up as Jesus for Halloween, but you may not dress up as Mulan. You may mock Jehovah, but not Allah. Profanity is nothing--- racial slurs must not be seen in print. Indeed, I notice that the very word "profanity" is being lost, with people now using it in place of "obscenity". I think that's because profane language is so common now that people don't realize it could offend anyones at all or offend God, and all that is left is a vague sense that "profanity" means words that offend old-fashioned people and that old-fashioned people are offended by toilet language. Half the concept of the four-letter word is completely gone.

So American Christians have lost the sense that God is Holy, or that anything is Holy. Our church buildings certainly are not. They are built, inside and outside, to look like gyms. My own church is like that. Our funds are very limited, and our origins are with the Puritans, and so we chose practicality. We have a space that is good for proclaiming the Word, but bad for projecting Awe. Our church services cannot help but give us some touches of the Holy. Our music often attains it, and the reading of the Scripture, recitations of traditional creeds, and at times, prayer and preaching. The Holy Spirit is still with us. But Holiness is not our strong point. Even the Holiness denominations don't stand for Holiness; they stand for good behavior.

What American Christians do have is Niceness. We are effeminate, and we believe in being outwardly benevolent and polite, whatever we may say behind people's backs. We want to avoid hurt feelings. We want things to seem peaceful. We want to avoid trouble, by evading trouble--- not by solving problems.

And we have been the Boiled Frog. As the water in the pot is gradually brought to a boil, the frog could jump out at any time, But it is done slowly, so slowly he does not realize it, and so he dies of the heat before he even realizes what is happening. His lifeless body continues to be heated as the temperature rises still further, and he is cooked till he is suitable for the decidedly unfroggy purposes of the chef. The chef does like frogs, remember--- just not in the same way that a frog like frogs. Christians don't realize they are being cooked, killed, and eaten. They don't realize that even when they pass by a beautiful and prosperous episcopalian church with a rainbow banner outside and a notice board telling them that they should come inside and help fight Climate Change.

So let us return to Happy Holidays. Does it sound offensive to me? Not really, unless I think about it. Is it offensive to me? Yes. Those are two different things. Imagine yourself a dignified old man dressed in a suit in 1925 in Alabama, a black man.

  • Is "holy day" what people mean when they say "holiday"?
 No more than "Wotan's Day" is what they mean when they say "Wednesday". 
     A Christian can say "Wednesday", and an anti-Christian can say "holiday" without violating their consciences. 
  • Many, probably most American Christians do not mind it when God is insulted. They not only think it should be tolerated, they don't even have any emotional reaction.