Why I’m A Christian Who Says ‘Happy Holidays’

American Evangelical’s annual campaign against the supposed “War in Christmas” began early this year, with the President promising the perpetually oppressed faithful that we would once again be a nation that says “Merry Christmas.”

“Praise the Lord,” shouted the ever-victimized choir!

Yes, it certainly has been a long time since those happy golden days of yore, hasn’t it?

Gone, the President assured thems, will be the national scourge of “Happy Holidays” in all its pluralistic, inclusive sickness. After nine years of unmatched persecution, American Christians will once again be free (in the spirit of the season) to cram their religious beliefs down people’s throats; to condescendingly wield their adoration of the sweet baby Jesus like a yuletide middle finger to Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists—and anyone else not sharing their expressions of peace on earth, good will to men, dammit.

The answer to the age-old question, “What would Jesus do?” for many, turns out to be “Alienate and badger everyone who doesn’t believe what you believe.”

It’s becoming more and more ironic to witness these yearly railings against some imaginary conspiracy toward a Christ-less Christmas—by men and women who don’t seem the slightest bit interested in keeping Christ in their Christianity the rest of the year (you know: caring for the poor, protecting the marginalized, welcoming the foreigner, alleviating suffering, shunning greed, championing equality).

They find no paradox in annually dusting off and trotting out a Nativity scene depicting a middle eastern, soon to be refugee child, who would grow to spend his days living off of other people’s generosity and fighting for those in the margins—after having spent the previous eleven months applauding travel bans and immigration raids and border walls and healthcare theft.
In other words, every December they angrily demand everyone acknowledge the arrival of a Christ child, who practically speaking—they have no room for in their inns.

The rest of us see it, though. Many good people who claim Christianity recognize how ridiculous this all is; what a paper tiger all this war language is and what a cheap, manufactured fight it has become. We have a perennial faith that finds the real evils of this world worth railing against—a faith that doesn’t need a self-made, trivial December diversion in order to feel valid. We understand that belief in Jesus is not license to be a yearly jerk to non-Christians.

There is no coordinated War on Christmas by non-believers—but there is a war on Christ by these seasonally ranting believers. Jesus warned his professed followers that the way they treated the least of these was their treatment of himself. There are millions of people this December in America and around the world, who are starving and suffering and aching for the smallest scrap of hope—and honestly they don’t give a damn about coffee cups or santa displays or sales clerk salutations.

They just want what Christians are supposed to provide by virtue of their title and job description: tangible, irrefutable evidence that God is and that God loves—because of how they love. They are waiting for the tidings of comfort and joy the people of Jesus are supposed to be bringing them.

Unless we’re willing to expend our energies to do that above all else, we’ll be fighting on the wrong side every time.

We who claim Christ should spend less time this season poking convenient enemies to stroke our fragile egos, and more time having our hearts freshly broken for the daily heavy burdens of those walking alongside us—and moved to help carry them without delay.

I’m a Christian.
When someone says “Happy Holidays” to me, I simply smile and reply “You as well.”
I don’t lecture them or correct them or insist on them acknowledging Christmas.
I don’t need some forced compliant lip service to have my beliefs validated.
I don’t feel my religion assailed by a stranger’s kind salutation.
My faith convictions are not contingent on anyone else agreeing with them.
The day Christmas becomes a weapon, is the day I’ll know I lost the plot completely.

I say “Happy Holidays” because many people celebrate something this time of year, and they shouldn’t feel compelled to yield to me or anyone else. This isn’t a piety competition.

I say “Happy Holidays” because I want to be a light to people, whatever their faith tradition—and because simple kindness is rare in these dark days. Everyone could use some gentleness.

I say “Happy Holidays” because I want to be like Jesus—and not a jerk.

For Christians, this is the only war worth waging this Christmas.



41 thoughts on “Why I’m A Christian Who Says ‘Happy Holidays’

  1. I love you, Pastor. You always speak the truth. Thanks for upholding what Christianity is supposed to be about. Thanks for realizing and informing others of what Christ was really about. I hope your expressive words bring conviction and salvation to those who have strayed and invite in those who would otherwise reject what demons have tried to remake Christianity into. God is not a human, thus he shouldn’t be dirtied by nasty, thoughtless humans among us. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

  2. Be Good , Be Warmed , Be Gone , this seems to be the culture of this world
    Not in my backyard or front yard
    I got mine , you get yours
    Selfish , Indignant , self seeking
    that is whay Christ is the Reason for Christmas
    If you dont take a stand for Jesus Christ
    You will be like the world , no one will be able to tell the difference.
    See who is and who is not a true believer in jesus christ, NO Matter What the cost
    Sold out for Jesus Christ
    Not more Religeon
    Not more look a likes
    Not more lies from the pulput of deception and deciet
    Just True Belief , Trust, God Centered Following.
    Preach , Teach, Trust in Jesus Christ , the reason the season
    No other
    all esle will fall , and fade away
    If your ashamed of Jesus Christ , YOU had better take note and see if your really a Christian
    Christian = Christ Like
    Not religeous
    not follower of the world

  3. Instead of ranting and raving about the color of the coffee cups, why not pour out some hot, fresh coffee and hand it out to those who are living on the streets, and most likely freezing?

    Then there’s that mess about “If anyone shall not work, let him not eat.”
    1) In all probability if a person has not eaten in a while (s)he isn’t going to be able to do much work.
    Contrary to what these Christianists are constantly yammering, most people would be glad to lend a hand, as long as they have the strength to lift it.

    I’ve been on both sides of this argument and I can assure you, brothers and sisters, that if we start by giving, we will end by receiving.

    • I do volunteer work in my community for our Catholic Church’s food pantry. We supply and deliver food to struggling families and individuals in our community. We do not ask if they are fellow Christians. We do not butt into their personal lives, and do not evangelize. We simply try to practice our Christian faith, and hopefully inspire others in doing so.

  4. The word holiday comes from old English “holy day”. Christmas is a holy day.

    There is not a war on Christmas. There is not a war on Christianity. There is not a war on straight white men. Immigrants did not steal millions of jobs from white people. Obama was not born in Kenya.

    I believe the only war going on here is a war on truth.

    • Well said, Joanne! We are being stingy with our love and tossing hate around like confetti. I hope this will stop before I die, but at least I wish better times for my grandchildren.

  5. Wow, you say that you say happy holidays because you want to be like Jesus yet you continue to teach others that it’s okay to hate people. I’m still wondering where you find that Jesus was okay with hating people and with teaching others to hate people.

  6. John, thanks. When I first tried to access your blog this morning, I was denied by, “you are banned.” As I’m not very computer savvy, I freaked out, completely stunned. Thank GOD I eventually was able to read your wise words. Praise the Lord!

  7. The social conservative Christians, who now run the country under the (anything but religious) president, have been pushing this bogus war on Christmas for too long.

    They are so terrified if they aren’t number one in the country. I have come to hate the word Christian, and I grew up one, until I finally had enough at 18. I never thought anything of anyone that said happy holidays to me, in fact I simply said it back to them. And if someone said merry Christmas I said that back too, never seeing any harm in either one.

    Only the christian right could see this as an affront to their superiority and control, which they see is back, with Trump giving them everything they need to dominate.

    It’s just obnoxious and arrogant. It seems that Trump voters have no clue they are being played by the president himself. Or heck maybe they just don’t care, after all they are getting what they have wanted for over 40 years… Control

    I guess when one worships their God as an authoritarian it shouldn’t be too difficult to see why people become authoritarians themselves.

    Just google social conservative evangelicals and authoritarianism….

    • They do not control anything yet—and if I have anything to do with it, they will never control anything but the handles on the toilets in their own churches. You appear to be new here. Please feel free to visit mt blog at:


      You will probably find out why you left these fundies so far behind at age 18. It is the same reason so many Millennials are leaving them today. They look at them and do not see the Jesus they know.

  8. You are entitled to your opinion. Thank you for that. I am one of those Christmas kettle volunteers for the Salvation Army, and my policy is to be grateful for any donation, large or small that is placed in that kettle. Doesn’t matter to me ( or the Salvation Army) whether they are redoryellowblackorwhite, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or whatever they are or aren’t. I thank them for caring and follow their lead in salutation. Merry Christmas , Happy Holidays, have a great day; some are silent. I try to connect with every donater in some way with the love of Jesus regardless as to whether I speak his name or not. I am not a member of the SA. But I am a follower of Jesus.

    • That is because you are defining the word “Christian” with a Christian fundamentalist or conservative evangelical mindset. Maybe you do not know what an authentic Christian is because you have never met one.

  9. And a very Happy Holidays to you, sir.

    “Happy Holidays” allows us to present wishes for peace and love and joy without having to determine the person’s personal choices for spirituality or somehow vet them past the “unacceptable” ones. There are NO unacceptable holy days–there are only different ones that you personally may not observe but they are meaningful to others.

    You know, how you celebrate YOUR birthday but you don’t insist that everyone else in the world buy you a present. (Well, you can try, let me know how that works out.)

    I am continually gobsmacked (lovely word, that) how people who insist that they are of the religion of peace and love have NOTHING else to do with their time but foment discord and hate.

    Jesus would be ashamed. Jesus IS ashamed. I wonder if he worries, late at night, thinking that perhaps he didn’t say things clearly enough, didn’t teach his lessons in a way that his followers could understand…because they sure don’t act like they know what he said. Does he wonder where he went wrong and why this isn’t turning out like he had planned?

    Does he have a permanent facepalm? “Daddamn, I TOLD them. I told them over and over what they needed to do. But do they do that? Nooooooo. They’re even more hateful than they were before I went down there. Time to flood the Earth again.”

    The only hope I can find in this is that hate and love are two sides of the same coin–they are both what is referred to as “energized” emotions. They are not opposites. The opposite of both of them? Is APATHY. Not caring either way…that’s the opposite of hate AND love. Hate is a negative “caring” and love…well, love is the answer, but a lot of these idiots have forgotten the question.

    “For unto us a Child is born,
    Unto us a Son is given;
    And the government will be upon His shoulder.
    And His name will be called
    Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    Of the increase of His government and peace
    There will be no end,
    Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
    To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
    From that time forward, even forever.
    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

    The birth of a child, any child, is a message of hope and the chance for change within our world. Every birth-day is a holy day for every birth is a miraculous event. In the time of winter, when the Earth herself sleeps and dreams of Springtime, we celebrate the promise of the birth of a child and all the potential held within that baby’s body.

    Happy Holy Days, indeed.

  10. Understand how you feel, and I share your feelings. But aren’t you perhaps adding fuel to the fire by making this worthy of a post? I say, “Let it go; it’s not worth making it an issue”.

  11. Last Christmas I met the sweetest family while out Christmas shopping. The wife and husband were tatted up, with nose rings, and piercings. Their baby boy was who drew my attention. We chatted about how adorable he was and just a bit of a little flirt. They were gracious, kind, and seemed to welcome my comments about their precious little guy. We shared a warm connection. When we parted several minutes later, they wished me a Happy Holiday, to which I simply responded, “You too!” Even though my church seems to celebrate diversity, (members of our praise and worship team have tattoos, colored hair, and the like) most of the local churches in my area would not have welcomed them. So John, I get what you’re saying. I hope that they remember our interlude with a smile because I didn’t pointedly exclaim, “Merry Christmas!” I received and returned their holiday greeting in the manner that it was given, with human kindness.

  12. I just love what you say. And I love that there is at least one other person that thinks as I do about what really matters in this short life we have. You are a blessing and I thank you.

  13. Thank you for this. I love all of it but the conclusion. I think so much came into the world because of the Incarnation that I want to say “Merry Christmas.” However, I am willing to stop if there are really are people who object to the love of God coming among us. Perhaps some are just offended because they think there’s a war going on.

  14. Amazing how many “Christians” sign up for what you describe above or transfer their outrage saying you’re being “hateful” for shining a light about what’s more evidently surfaced with such vehemence and intolerance in their hearts. We really need more vehicles to communicate with folks in reminding everyone that we all miss the mark, so it’s not putting anyone down, but instead fellowshipping to elevate us all as a collective humanity closer to God’s presence (which is what we’re all yearning for anyways!)

  15. I don’t read your posts often. The last time i read anything from you it was about Trumps attack on the homosexual community. You stated the bible does not say it’s a sin. Yet the bible does forbid it in the OT and the NT. You stated the bible was thousands of years old by unknown authors and God didn’t say that. Well it caught my attention because i have studied religion, christanity and the history of Christanity. I’ve learned that I don’t trust the bible to be God’s spoken word however it support the answers to life situations on this earth. The same God who supposedly inspired these authors inspires me. There are alot of truths you pastors know but you keep the congregations in the dark about!!!! I do agree with the spirit of Jesus and the message it is suppose to send. I no longer demonize my ancestors as evil because of worship. They honored a God of all things just like we do. They just did it in a different way. I’m not convinced a talking snake lead to our sin nature but that ancient civilization had no knowledge of the God of Abram from the beginning. So how could mankind fall from grace without a trace from creation to Abram? I’m a spiritual person and believe that the spirit if God is in all people all sexes, races, gender and transgenders. I have to agree that God never said that!!! If God wants to change the minds and hearts of peoplee he will and that’s every ones personal journey!!! I’m glad your preaching about the spirit that christainity is suppose to be!!!!

  16. I liked your FB page 5 minutes ago after reading your Trump/Grinch post and now I am back here reading and loving this post. I am so looking forward to reading more.
    What would Jesus do? He would follow you on FB and share your posts.

  17. OMG #WarOnChrist is a hashtag whose time has come. Seriously, it could catch on. I’ll help get it started. I’ll add it to all the #XINO actions of the Rcon party, Rcon Congress and Rcon pundits!

    • and the *other* reason I say Happy Holidays is that there is more than one Christian holiday at this time of year.

      So the assumption that “Happy Holidays” is a secular comment is in fact a rather secular idea, or at the very least something that would only be said by someone with a very surface level experience/understanding of Christianity (which definitely describes DJT).

      So i say Happy Holidays to be inclusive, but i am also including Christians who know that December 25th is not the only holy day coming up on the calendar.

      Everytime the subject comes up, i drop that nugget into the conversation, and i haven’t found a fundie or XINO (Christian in name only) with a comeback for it yet.

      Feel free to pass it on!

  18. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. I sometimes say happy holidays to people as a nicety, but I rarely make the holiday happier; and if you think about it, saying happy holidays brings with it the implication that one ought to be getting paid days off at that time of the year. Or at extra time off without pay. Can we find a seasonal greeting of mere-words that seeks to bless people for whom the season does not afford time off, rest, etc? Like what if people of other religions work for their own employer all the same at that time of the year? Why are we saying Happy holidays? What can that actually achieve? Mere words anyway, I say.

    I think you’re saying some great things we need to hear in the church, John. Also, you seem to embrace a tone on your blog that sounds like Paul but having even less of a relationship to your readers than he did, which is actually somewhat bothersome.

    The content and tone at the end of this monologue (the “I” “I” “I” part right until the end) really hits a high point in terms of Christian narcissism.

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