In my days lately, I’m feeling more friends lamenting the secularization of the Christmas season. I see it too, as the world culture moves further away from anything having to do with God and certainly any mention of Christ, but meanwhile at Restoration, we talk about The Story of God being an all-encompassing narrative…there is “inescapable reality of God” that exists over and above our acceptance or affirmation.
That means that I can stand outside and declare with full heart that God isn’t real. And, guess what?
He is still there.
I could gather a few people with me and convince them all to agree with me, by pointing out all the ridiculous, stupid people who say they believe in this God who isn’t. And guess what?
He’s still there.
I could take it further and systematically create a stream of logical argument, scientific evidence, emotional appeal and prove to the entire world that God is an irrelevant, fantasy, cooked up by men to control our minds and take our money… and guess what?
He’s still there.
So if God is not dependent on our recognition of Him, can He really be taken out of the Christmas season? What about if the “secular” (unbelieving) world is successful at replacing “Merry Christmas!” with “Happy Holidays!” Should we as people who “Know God’s Story” be worried?
I’m kind of an amateur linguist. I love language and try to listen carefully to common phrases. And as I was thinking about this, I realized something valuable was hidden in that phrase “Happy Holidays!” and I was grateful to God for showing it to me.
The word holidays is a contraction. Like don’t (do not), can’t (can not) or won’t (woe not?), it’s a compression of two words, in this case: holy days/holy’days/holidays.
As Americans, we say it fast and add a bit of twist to the pronunciation so it seems like a different word, basically: “holly-day.” Which makes most people think that that term is referring to a non-religious, Christmas decoration. But it’s not.
What you’re hearing in retail stores and in advertisements is still referencing the deep sacredness of this season. And as we move this week as a church into marking the Advent season, we are most definitely entering some significantly Holy Days. My prayer that we would be refreshed in our joy for the Unfailing promise of the Lord’s return.
Like turning B.C. into BCE, or AD into CE, we just can’t delete or hide from the reality of God over us. It’s still 2012 years since something big went down in a little town called Bethlehem. And these Holy Days are set aside by God to prepare our hearts and minds to see it.
So, my friends… I say, go ahead and wish everyone you see “Happy HolyDays!”
…And, a Merry Christmas too!
Hey, but what about “Xmas?” …don’t get me started!
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