21 December 2011

Say Merry Christmas

It seems that some Christians are starting to get a little over zealous  about the word Christmas. The Say Merry Christmas Network is proof of such zeal. They even have a song:



This movement is well intended, but I'm not sure if it's the most Christian thing to do.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about this. I really don't have that big of a problem when someone says, "Happy Holidays," or "Season's Greetings," or "Merry Χ-mas." All of these point, whether the person knows it or not, to Christ.

I suppose if one want to be a little over zealous, one could make a point of challenging store personnel what they mean when they fail to use the word Christmas:
Store clerk: "Happy Holidays."
You: "Oh. And what holiday is that?"
Store clerk: "... Christmas."
You: "And a merry Christmas to you as well."

Or, the dialog could go like this:
Store clerk: "Season's Greetings."
You: "Oh. And which season is it?"
Store clerk: "... the Christmas Season?"
You: "Actually, it's the Advent Season right now, but it will soon be the Christmas Season."
Store clerk: "Oh!"
You: "Merry Christmas."
Store clerk: "Merry Christmas."

This one I've only seen in print, but lets make up a dialog for it as well:
Store clerk: "Merry X-mas."
You: "Do you know what the 'Χ' in 'Χ-mas' stands for?"
Store clerk: "I'm not sure."
You: "It's not the English letter 'X' but the Greek letter Chi. Do you know what the Greek letter Chi stands for?"
Store clerk: "No. What?"
You: "It stands for Χριστος (Christos), which is Greek for Christ."
Store clerk: "Oh!"
You: "So when you say 'Merry Χ-mas' your really saying 'Merry Christmas."
Store clerk: "Oh!"
You: "Merry Christmas."
Store clerk: "Merry Christmas."

This is all fine if you want to be over zealous about the word Christmas; however, I think there is a more important subject Christians should address with their shopping dollar: social justice:
  • Don't buy products made in China (and maybe even in India and North Korea) due to the inhumane treatment of workers.
  • Only buy fair-trade chocolate and coffee.
  • Don't buy gas from Shell. Most other petroleum companies are bad, but Shell is the biggest human rights violator. (I get all my gas at Co-Op. It's a 100% Canadian product.)
  • Boycott PepsiCo, Nestlé and Kraft Foods products because of their connection with Senomyx, which employs testing technology using human embryonic kidney cells obtained from aborted fetuses.
  • Don't shop at Wall-Mart because of their unethical business practices.

If you do take up one of the above mentioned boycotts, it's not enough to just stop buying the particular products. You have to write the company a letter or e-mail, or phone them. (If you do phone them, be prepared for some a rude response. I only wrote a letter to PepsiCo, which they never replied to, but I know a very polite person that phoned them and got a very rude response.) I've joined a number of boycotts and wrote a letter for each one. I just joined the Kraft Foods boycott and wrote them a letter and an e-mail today.

These are more important ways to stand up for Christian values than forcing a store clerk to say, "Merry Christmas."