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You don’t have to tell me Merry Christmas

I recently discovered a website called Stand for Christmas.

A prominent paragraph at the top of the homepage reads:

Millions upon millions in our nation deeply value the great truths of Christmas and the holiday’s inspiring place in American life and culture. We hope you will take a moment to “Stand for Christmas” by sharing feedback about your Christmas shopping experiences.

We’re asking YOU to decide which retailers are “Christmas-friendly.” They want your patronage and your gift-shopping dollars, but do they openly recognize Christmas?

The idea is for people to rate major retailers as Christmas Friendly, Christmas Negligent, or Christmas Offensive. Registered users are invited to leave short comments describing their shopping experiences. Were Christmas decorations displayed? Did employees wish them a Merry Christmas? Was pro-Christmas signage hanging?

In other words, were independently-owned businesses and people making minimum wage tripping over themselves to give an insincere wish of merryment to you?

I love Christmas and I am one of those people who believes Jesus, the Son of God, was born in Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago. When I discuss Christmas with my children, I do not talk about retail, window displays, or how complete strangers should address me when I am swiping a credit card to buy a 3-pack of Star Wars underwear, size 6.

I talk about a newborn, a humble young woman, a brave young man, the 3 huddled in a stable. They didn’t ask for greetings or worship. They didn’t expect hosts of heaven to sing over them. In fact, I suspect they were rather surprised and awed at what transpired that holy night in that little town.

Fall on your knees/Hear, the angels voices!/Oh night divine!

What would they think of a red-faced person spewing via keyboard about The Gap’s lack of a proper tree? Do you really expect a tremulous moment of awe and wonder in checkout lane #7, thanks to a person’s forced Merry Christmas?

It is thoroughly obnoxious to expect Merry Christmas greetings and then become deeply offended when none are freely offered. I think it cheapens everything Christmas is about to become hung up on two words. All that happened on the first Christmas strikes me dumb with awe. It can’t be corralled in a Sunday circular, even if the ink is a proper red and green.

Don’t say Merry Christmas to me if you don’t mean it. I don’t mind. I’d rather hear one single, heartfelt, sincere wish for a meaningful holiday than 1,000 throwaway sentiments.

I’ll still shop at so-called “Christmas Offensive” stores. Why? Here’s a little secret: real live Christians are often employed by these stores. Did you ever think maybe it tears them up inside that they can’t express themselves to you? They may want to say Merry Christmas, but are hampered by rules and regulations. Give them a break. To try to damage a store via boycotts/indignant nonsense is to hurt a person who is simply trying to make a living.

I believe Christmas transcends American big box retail. It can’t be contained by dismissal or even outright disdain. Ignore Christmas all you want, giant retailer.

You are not my church.

33 comments to You don’t have to tell me Merry Christmas

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