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28 November, 2007 / theexpositor

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

This comes from Sean, a listener in Houston, Texas, offering a perspective on the Christmas greetings issue and the Naughty or Nice list.

I also work seasonally for Barnes and Noble Booksellers.  On Monday, we took a call from a person upset that Barnes and Noble does not use the word “Christmas” anywhere in the store.  The unfortunate part about all of that is that there are multiple, large signs in the store that say specifically and in bold letters, “MERRY CHRISTMAS”!

The problem I see with singling out retailers with the “Christmas” angle is many-fold.  First, as I can personally attest, the information may not always be correct.  Next, if this information is correct, and the corporation in question has decided to truly shun the use of “Christmas” in any form, the poor individual upon which many seem to release their ire has no more control over this than any of us do over whether the sun should rise in the morning.  Instead, we become yet another example of “those Christians” who preach one thing but apparently feel it’s fair game to judge and harass all we see around us.  If we feel the need to approach the random store employee, be they floor worker or manager it should be with love and understanding – not judgment.

Lastly for the sake of this email, and perhaps a bit cynical in nature: we need to recognize that most of these national corporations spend millions of dollars a year in marketing.  Christians still outnumber non-Christians in this country.  It does not take a rocket scientist or even an advertising major to realize that not offending Christians equals more money over all.  So what does all this mean?  Well, just because a store says Merry Christmas, doesn’t mean they give two hoots about what the holiday actually means, nor does the fact that a store does NOT say Merry Christmas mean that all the employees working there are heathens who hate Christ.

Instead of berating individual employees about decisions over which they have no control, ask politely for an address or phone number to the headquarters or a regional or national supervisor so the message can get to the people that have a hope of changing things.  But first and foremost, don’t only take one person’s or group’s word for something.  Make use of the resources available and make sure the information on which you are basing your claims is correct.  Most importantly, pray to God and ask His guidance.  Study His word and make sure your motives are His and not your own.