When I say Merry Christmas in public, I’m often rewarded with a two part response: First, the “Oh, you insensitive boob” look; then the “Ah, but your (baby boomer) generation doesn’t know any better” look.
The Christmases I grew up with were nearly as secular as the “Happy Holidays” are today. True, back then department store employees (whether Christian, Buddhist, or agnostic) said Merry Christmas when they handed you your hula hoop or argyle socks. But most of the time it had no more meaning than when one atheist says “goodbye” (Old English for “God be with ye”) to another.
So please don’t forgive me when I wish you a Merry Christmas! Confront me. Rebuke me. Or better yet, ask me why. Because, after growing up saying those words but not believing them—Christmas means “Christ’s Sending”—I fell in love with the one who was sent. And now I long to tell you about him!
I want you to know the joy I have in knowing him. And when I say Merry Christmas, it’s not because I’m a clueless dolt who doesn’t know any better.
Well, OK, I may be a clueless dolt, but I do know better. And if you’re not a believer, I want even more to say those words to you. Because Merry Christmas is not a secret handshake for club members, it’s an announcement of “good news of great joy for all people.” (Luke 2:10).
If I had a package for you that contained a million dollars, but you didn’t believe it contained a million dollars, I’d still want to give it to you. In fact I’d be even more excited about giving it to you. Have you ever seen someone open a box that contained a gift far more valuable than they were expecting? Nothing better!
So Merry Christmas, my friend!
‘Cuz that’s just the kind of insensitive boob I am.