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  • Writer's pictureJ. Basil Dannebohm

Who doesn't want you to say, 'Merry Christmas?' Hint: It's not who you think.

J. Basil Dannebohm

“They don’t want us to say, ‘Merry Christmas.’”

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. Often, I just shake my head and ignore the statement. However, from time to time, I'll indulge the individual and inquire: “Who is ‘they’?”

Usually, I am met with a blank scoff.

Sometimes, I am told that “they” are the government, "libtards," woke people, "snowflakes," the deep state, pagans, the LGBTQ+ community, the heterodox, "modernists," and so on.

In truth, there is no "war on Christmas," not in the United States, at least.

This time of year at Rockefeller Center in New York City, you’ll find a larger-than-life Christmas tree. On Capitol Hill in Washington DC, you’ll see a similarly majestic tree. There's even an impressive nativity scene right across from the South Lawn of the White House. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Crèche is a nationally known life-sized nativity scene in the heart of the Steel City. Throughout the holidays, large scale public celebrations are held wherein those gathered in the frosty winter air exclaim, “Merry Christmas,” and sing carols that celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. It’s the same in virtually any red or blue city, hamlet, and crossroads in the United States.

The Pittsburgh Crèche

Truth be told nobody has ever explicitly told you that you cannot say Merry Christmas. No, I’m not referring to the collective “you,” I am referring to you specifically: the reader.

Admit it. You have never been told not to say Merry Christmas. Granted, you might have extended the glad tiding to somebody, only to hear in response, “I don’t celebrate Christmas;” but that is certainly not forbidding you from saying Merry Christmas. You have your freedom of speech, just as that particular individual has their freedom of religion, or lack thereof.  

Another popular greeting this time of year is “Happy Holidays.” Yet for some reason, the sentiment is stigmatized by certain Christians. Why? From Thanksgiving to New Years' Day there are several holidays, including Christmas. The Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, some communities celebrate Kwanzaa, others commemorate Yuletide. There are Christians who celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, some acknowledge the Feast of St. Stephen, or Our Lady of Guadalupe. Many cultures celebrate Boxing Day. Suffice it to say the greeting “Happy Holidays” is not only apropos, but also respectful.

I realize that respect and goodwill toward men is scarce these days. But let’s be honest: the same Christians who allege they are being forbidden from saying Merry Christmas would be up in arms if they were asked to say, “Eid Mubarak” or “Shabbat Shalom.”

Self-righteousness has become a sort of hallmark characteristic of our time. Mainly because it condones and coddles our narrative. This time of year, its important to remember that in the Book of Genesis, Eve found the serpent more trustworthy than God, not because of his credentials, but because the serpent said what Eve wanted to hear. We all know how that played out. The very celebration of Christmas is because God sent the world a Savior due to the fall that occurred in Eden.

Indeed, according to Christians, the serpent is the Father of Lies, who promotes hatred, division, and conflict. Therefore, it's no coincidence that among the things that stir the most conflict this time of year is the dishonest division caused by self-righteous serpents, who would have us believe that we are forbidden from saying Merry Christmas.  

Along with holiday greetings, another popular custom for many Christians this time of year is a spiritual exercise known as, “an examination of conscience.”

The practice is a form of meditation, wherein an individual reflects on the sins they have committed and the good things they have failed to do. It’s a sort of purification ritual aimed at preparing one’s heart, mind, and soul for the holy day that approaches.

It would do many of us a great deal of good to genuinely and deeply examine our consciences ahead of Christmas: How many of us have spread the lie that we have been forbidden to say Merry Christmas? How many of us have failed to respect our brothers and sisters, who though of different backgrounds and religions, are no less made in the image and likeness of God? How many of us have become self-righteous as a result of serpents, whose every word we blindly follow because they say what we want to hear and condone our misguided notions?

May the reason for the Christmas season save us from those who genuinely seek to destroy goodwill among men. Hint: It’s not the invisible Boogeyman whom you allege doesn’t want you to say Merry Christmas. Dig deep in your conscience and you'll find the answer awaiting you like the newborn Savior in the manger.


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