Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Is “Happy Holidays” a Dirty Word (or two)?

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by JEL

The holiday season is upon us, shopping is in full swing, the house decoration contests have begun, and we just got our first Christmas card of the year. Which means soon the media will be filled with stories about the “attack on Christmas.” You know, all those terrible people who greet you with “Happy Holidays” because, well, they just might want to be inclusive.

Anyway, for all those people who get their undies in a knot over “HH” vs. “MC,” please read this great post from Jennifer McGrail’s “The Path Less Taken:”

The only one who can take your Christ out of your Christmas is you.

How do you take Christ out of Christmas?  You take Christ out of Christmas every time you:

Don’t take the high road.

Are less than loving, and patient, and kind.

Gossip, complain about, and judge others.

Are slow to listen and quick to anger.

And yes…. grump and moan and cry about everyone taking Christ out of Christmas, instead of simply showing the people kindness and goodwill and grace, and letting them see through your actions that Christ cannot be taken out of your Christmas because Christ is living in you.  No one can take that away from you, no matter what they believe or what they celebrate or WHY they celebrate.

The post is terrific from start to finish, so please read the whole thing.

Christmas…for Everyone

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 by JEL

Before I head off for our annual Christmas break, I wanted to create one more post. Christmas is a season for many things: families and friends gathering, over-eating, purchasing and exchanging gifts, and talking about the sanctity of “Merry Christmas” against the rising tide of the supposedly militant “Happy Holidays.”

Take a breath and simply enjoy. The gifts are wrapped, the roast is in the oven (or the tofurkey for folks like me), all the hard stuff is done and you find yourself surrounded by people you don’t spend nearly enough time with. Enjoy it.

Here’s a great summation of what I’m trying to say. Holly Stewart eloquently writes:

“Christian or not, we can all learn valuable lessons from the story of Jesus’ birth. Great men and women can emerge from lowly beginnings. Humility is a cleansing force. The redeeming values of faith and love are not to be taken lightly. Devotion is its own reward. Giving is better than receiving.

So celebrate in your way, or not. It’s your holiday. It belongs to everyone. Fortunately for us, Christmas is big enough for the whole world.”

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Be festive and merry. We’ll be back the week of January 3.

AOK Thursday: Giving

Thursday, December 16th, 2010 by JEL

In the spirit of the Christmas season (which, by the way, would be nice all year long), I thought as we’re giving each other gifts, we might re-examine the true meaning of giving. That is, giving to those less fortunate who are really in need. Jesus had something to say about the subject:

“If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.” – Matthew 5:40-42

Brought to present day, here’s a nice story of a Waukegan waitress who took Jesus’ instructions to heart (whether she knew it or not).

A Holy Tree, Diminished

Monday, December 13th, 2010 by JEL

I never understood vandalism. Knocking over tombstones, smashing mailboxes, breaking windows, it just doesn’t make any sense to me how that can be an enjoyable way to spend your time. My tolerance stops abruptly at about the toilet-papering-trees point.

Last week, vandals got to the Glastonbury Holy Tree in England. Listen to the story:

It’s His Birthday – Get Him What He Wants

Monday, December 6th, 2010 by JEL

Pardon the shameless promotion here, but as you’re scurrying around the Internet and the malls gobbling up presents to fulfill your Christmas shopping lists, I thought you might want to stop a minute.

And think.

Christmas, after all is meant to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus, not a celebration of the glowing credit card. One more plastic toy or electronic doo-dad is not going to make this world a more peaceful and tolerant home for any of us.

If you could sit Jesus down and ask Him what he really wants for his birthday, I’d bet He’d say “To be understood.” We just happen to know of a great gift for everyone on your list that makes His message easier to understand than ever before. Give it a shot >>

A Birthday Wish

Friday, December 25th, 2009 by JEL

So today is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I’m guessing all He wants for His birthday is for all of us to heed these words:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

In return, here is the Christmas present we all should accept over the Wii:

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.” – John 14:27

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 by JEL

I’ve never been one to engage in the Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays debate. It all just seems a bit silly, especially when there are so many other topics to get worked up about. But search the Internet and you’ll see all sorts of examples of people claiming that a simple “Happy Holidays” greeting is an attack on Christianity, itself, while the other side finds “Merry Christmas” an inexcusable intolerance.

Here at What He Said, we just like to say “Merry Christmas.” It’s cheery, jolly, and when else do you get to use the word “merry” throughout the year? Just looking at the word puts me in a better mood. So, Merry Christmas, everyone and you can take that to mean whatever the spirit of the season holds for you.

Faces of Jesus

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 by JEL

Maybe it’s the spirit of the Christmas season, but people around the globe are seeing the face of Jesus in strange places. A woman in Methuen, MA saw the image of Christ on the bottom of her iron, while Lisa Swinton in Australia discovered His image on a banana peel. They had differing reactions: the iron is being kept in a safe place, but the banana was eaten and the peel thrown away.

Wherever you encounter Jesus, we hope you remember His message of peace and goodwill to all. The world could use a heaping helping of both these days.

Biblical allusions

Friday, December 11th, 2009 by PJM

My father often jokes that Jesus (and Shakespeare) only talked in clichés.

He is referring to the fact that much of the language from the Bible has been appropriated into our daily speech and cultural literary works. In fact, many readers of What He Said have marveled that certain phrases came from the Gospels and not from far more recent sources (like the speeches of Abraham Lincoln or the lyrics to a White Stripes song). In reviewing the nativity story from Luke, I was struck by the fact that Joseph and Mary offered a “pair of turtledoves” to Simeon in Jerusalem shortly after Christ’s birth.

Now I have to keep looking to figure out if three French hens show up anywhere in my reading.

The 25th

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 by JEL

As December 25 quickly approaches, I, like many of you, am up to my eyeballs in shopping lists, tree tinsel, and back-order stress. Yes, Christmas is coming. I think many people forget, while deep in Xbox vs. Wii debates, that Christmas = Jesus’ birthday.

Should we really break out the candles on the 25th?

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John never mention the 25th as the birth date of Christ in their Gospels. So where did it come from? This article provides an answer.