Happy Holidays? Bah, Humbug!

For the last several years, during Advent, I have felt obliged to wage a war on political correctness by studiously avoiding the use of the sappy, vapid phrase "Happy Holidays". I much prefer "Merry Christmas" and, the more traditional "Season's Greetings."

I find it hard to understand how anyone could be offended by being greeted thusly. Many of my friends and colleagues are Jewish, and I am relatively certain that none of them has ever been offended by receiving a hearty "Merry Christmas" greeting from me. Nor am I offended when I am wished a joyous and happy new year when Rosh Hashana rolls around. If someone is wishing for me happiness and blessings, then I am all for it.

As Dave Hoggard puts it:

"My traditional holiday greeting is not intended as an insult or to disparage anyone, I just truly dislike the phrase "Happy Holidays". "Merry Christmas" means something. "Habari Gani?" means something. "Happy Chanukah" means something. "Happy Holidays" means nothing more than "I hold no traditions nor beliefs dear and don't think you should either, but I hope your few days off of work are pleasant."

Or as David C. Stolinsky, M.D., who is Jewish, states in this provacative article:

"This year it seems that fewer people wish one another "Merry Christmas." Instead, in an effort not to give offense, they say "Happy Holidays."

Obviously, Christmas means the most to Christians, who make up the large majority of Americans. Yet non-Christians can also enjoy the beauty of the season, and they can honor the holiday without observing it – unless they are eager to take offense...

Why is it that some Americans take offense when Christmas lights are hung, or when people display the flag after the worst terrorist attack in our history? What offends people often reveals more about them than about the event that offends them.

Wisely, the [nation's founding] Founders...established a secular government for a religious people. But now, some would distort freedom of religion into freedom from religion. They take offense at anything that does not accord with their own beliefs – or lack of belief. They insist that the nation revolve around them.

Specifically, they believe that moral principles can be handed down from one generation to another without any Source for these principles. This belief requires a leap of faith just as much as does a religious belief.

There is no historical basis for the assumption that a purely secular society can retain its moral principles over the generations. In fact, Western Europe seems to be proving precisely the opposite. Yet we are betting everything we have that this assumption is correct. Is this a wise bet?

Is there too much happiness in the world? Is there a shortage of sadness and grief? Does hearing "Joy to the world" really cause a problem?

Is there too much friendship in the world? Is there a deficiency of hatred and strife? Does "Peace on earth, good will toward men" really sound oppressive?...

Is there too much fellowship in the world? Is there a dearth of hostility and ill will? Does a hearty "Merry Christmas!" really give offense?

Is there too much light in the world? Is there a scarcity of darkness and gloom? Do pretty lights really cause distress?

A wise man said that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. But what would he have thought of those who curse the candle?"