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  Not ‘Happy Holidays’--but ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’
by J. Grant Swank, Pastor
21
December 2002

There are still some of us who haven't caved into the politically correct renaming of Christmas.

Happy Holidays is obviously a give-in to political correctness. That in
itself makes it repulsive. It is knee-jerk submission to the liberal camp.

But it is doubly repulsive in that it is a knee-jerk submission to the
liberal camp in compromising the Christian witness to what is true and
so traditionally recognized as valid when it comes to December 25.

The whole logical world knows that Christmas originated because of the birth of Jesus Christ. It was not started because of a decorated tree or winter's
sparkle season or the need to buy gifts for children.

I walk into Wal-Mart and a clerk says to customers: "Happy holidays." Big deal.

I hear neighbors in the post office greet one another with: "Happy
holidays." Big deal.

Oh, I know that it could be far worse. We could have blood running in the
streets. But it still galls me that liberals get any headway at Christmastide. Sadly, they are particularly making headway in the heads of the
next generation -- some of them.

Yet not all of them. Scores of believers still know why they are here and
why we have December 25 as a special observance.

So it is that my wife and I drove to a nearby New England village for their
Sparkle Weekend celebrations. "Sparkle Weekend"? What does that mean?

I guess it could mean that in New England we have a lot of snow with
sparkling snowflakes. But my suspicions are that the liberals of that
community got their way with a Happy Holiday synonym.

Anyhow, as we stood on the sidewalk waiting for the Sparkle Weekend parade
to pass by, we were more than encouraged to see handmade floats with
peasant folk aboard. (No intended rival to the Manhattan parade float fare.) And from those floats we heard singing. Singing what? Singing traditional CHRISTMAS CAROL HYMNS!

Then there was the float with the community instrumentalists giving forth.
Guess what? They were actually playing CHRISTMAS CAROL HYMNS. We on the sidelines could easily sing along if we wanted to. And gladly we did.

The cozy village church doors were open with sanctuary lights on inside. Villagers could slip through that welcoming door for quiet, prayer or simply refuge from the cold.

It made me feel as if some of us actually knew why we had a day off in
December -- it was Christmas! It was because Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

So we heard the carolers on floats sing of angels, wise men, shepherds,
Bethlehem -- and Jesus.

So we heard instrumentalists on the floats playing tunes about angels, wise
men, shepherds, Bethlehem -- and Jesus.

Obviously, I concluded, not everyone in this country has gone politically correct. There are still those who refuse to buckle under to the sheer secular fest of December. They balk at stripping Christ from Christmas.

Therefore, this December, I purposefully extend to all more than Happy
Holidays. With unbridled joy for the reason for the season, I shout as
proudly and justly as possible: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL THE LORD'S BLESSINGS FOR A BRAND NEW YEAR.

Email J. Grant Swank

BIO

Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor, New Hope Church, Windham ME

Graduate of accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.

Married for 41 years with 3 adult children.

Author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic
magazines, journals and newspapers. Writer of weekly religion column for
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.

Hobbies: Traveling to South America, Europe, Middle East, Canada; writing;
watercolor painting; meeting new friends.

Current occupations: Pastor; Teacher at Alternative Learning School for
at-risk youths.

Pastorates: Calgary, Alberta; Indianapolis IN; Akron OH; Fishkill NY;
Manchester CT; Walpole MA; Windham ME.

Winner of First Prize Writing Contest which yielded a three-week guided tour
of the Middle East.

Columnist for websites: MensNewsDaily.com, IntellectualConservative.com, MichNews.com,
Chalcedon.com, rePUNK.com, ConservativeTruth.com, FreeRepublic.com (USO Canteen Chapel link), WoundedShepherds.com (Insights link).