Merry Christmas – Yes, Christmas!
“I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas, — if you don’t mind.” That’s how Charles Osgood finished a television broadcast on CBS News “Sunday Morning” some years ago. Osgood was the host of the show prior to the current host Jane Pauley. (Osgood is now 89 years old)
In my opinion, Pauley, Osgood and his predecessor, (another Charles, Charles Kuralt) have provided great Sunday morning television since 1979. The stories are handled in depth with a gentle touch. The mood is comfortable. It’s great programming for us. It’s a sort of “soft news magazine” TV show.
My wife likes it even more than I do. She has the DVR set to record it each Sunday so we can watch it at our leisure later on. Of course in today’s digital world, you can see the show anytime you want by going to the website and finding full episodes there.
Now – back to the “I’ll wish you a Merry Christmas, – if you don’t mind” thing. Osgood did a commentary about how so many people are trying to make us feel that it isn’t appropriate to say “Merry Christmas” in this world where not everyone is Christian.
The politically correct thing to say, evidently, is “Happy Holiday(s).” Osgood contended that the “holiday” (originally “holy day”) that most of us are talking about is, in fact, Christmas and we shouldn’t be afraid to use the word “Christmas.” He points out that the word “holiday” doesn’t really work as a substitute for “Christmas.”
Osgood sat down at the piano. (He has performed with the Tabernacle Choir and The Boston Pops among other musical groups) He played and sang bits of Christmas songs to make his point.
Here are examples:
“I’m Dreaming of a White Holiday”
“It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Holiday”
“I’ll be Home for Holiday” You get the idea.
After hearing Osgood’s television essay, I regretted that I have at times started out our family Christmas letter with the phrase “Happy Holidays Everyone.” But the first time this came to my attention, I didn’t feel badly enough to go back and redo the already printed, but not mailed letters.
In shopping for Christmas cards, I have noticed that many of the cards aren’t, in fact, Christmas cards. They’re “Holiday Cards” and make no mention of Christmas. There’s a whole bunch of cards that are “politically correct.”
I’ve thought about all of this. I don’t think I’d be offended to be greeted with a Happy Hanukkah by a Jewish person. On the contrary, I believe that I would feel honored to be “adopted” for the greeting. Interestingly, my wife, years ago, bought a menorah. Some years she lights candles in honor of the Jewish “Festival of Lights.”
I don’t think I’d be offended to hear Islamic religious songs on the radio if I lived in Egypt. It would, in fact, be a reasonable expectation.
If I were in Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe that I would be offended if someone blessed me with, “May Allah be with You.” It could and would be interpreted, by me, as a caring compliment to be thought of in the context of someone’s religion, even though it’s not my own.
So, I have to throw in with Charles Osgood’s philosophy. Let’s not let the political or social ultra-sensitivities of a few alter our way of celebrating and remembering Christmas. We seem to have a hard enough time keeping the Christian side of Christmas alive anyway, without the added interference of “political correctness.”
Sanpete continues to do a good job of Christmas. I’ve seen it this year in many acts of service. There are many who have taken action to make Christmas a special time of giving. Much of this Christian service has been self-less and anonymous. Many recipients will never know exactly where the help came from.
Jesus taught the principle of anonymous giving. He talked about not “doing alms to be seen of men.” And to “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” (See Matthew 6:1-4)
Christmas is a magical, wonderful holiday. It’s a time of gathered families. It’s a time of remembering the good times and softening the edges off the bad times. It’s a time of reconciliation.
It’s not a time to sweep the word Christmas under a rug. It’s a time to remember the Christ child, not the “holiday child.”
And, though somewhat less important, but still very significant in my book – it’s a time for parties, candy, cookies, dinners and games. It’s a time for visiting one another. It’s a time to enjoy life and hope for continued blessings.
So, now, after all, “I’ll wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS! – If you don’t mind.” — Merrill
P.S. What is Santa’s primary language? North Polish. What’s the absolute best Christmas present? A broken drum – you can’t beat it! What did the wise men say after they offered up their gifts of gold and frankincense? Wait, there’s myrrh!