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Holy Spirit Interactive: Rich Maffeo : Merry Chris... Uh, oh. Excuse me. Happy Holiday

Merry Chris - - - Uh, oh. Excuse me. Happy Holiday

by Rich Maffeo

My wife placed the salad bowl on the table, sat down and looked at me.

"I'm starting a one-person campaign to revive Christmas."

I paused for a moment and then reached for the rolls. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm tired of rolling over for the culture that's changed Merry Christmas to 'Happy Holidays' and 'Good Spirit.' If it wasn't for Jesus, no one would be saying anything."

Except perhaps, 'Bah Humbug' I thought.

"From now on," she continued, "I'm wishing people a Merry Christmas."

I took a bite of the roll, but had already lost some of my appetite. That always happens when I feel guilty about something. Her words reminded me how often I succumb to political correctness and rarely use the "C" word. It's easier to just say, "Happy Holiday" -- or say nothing at all.


She continued. "Today, when the UPS guy dropped off the package, I said, Merry Christmas as he walked back to his truck." She stopped a moment, her eyes alive with excitement, and added, "He turned around and smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas, too. He seemed surprised someone said that to him. I think he really enjoyed hearing me say it."

Nancy then told me of two other people she'd said those two words that raise PC hackles and cause ACLU lawyers to rush to their casebooks. "They also were glad I said it."

Merry Christmas. Why would the best story the world has ever known raise the blood pressure of so many people? Why would the eternally gracious and sacrificial gift of God make so many people Christmasphobic?

I think it's because God insists forgiveness of sins is wrapped neatly in His gift package marked: Only For Those Who Love My Son, Jesus.

A lot of people think that's too restrictive.

Well, they're right. It is.

Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." He also warned, "Unless you believe I am He, you will die in your sins."

And then there's the Scripture, "At the name of Jesus every knee will bow. . . and every tongue confess, that Jesus is Lord." And again, "There is no name (but Jesus) under heaven" through which we can be saved.

Those who are familiar with the Bible can cite dozens of other passages which support the point that God established only one way to Him, exclusive of all other paths.

I suppose if I didn't like being told what to accept and how to behave to gain eternal life, I'd hate Christmas, too. I'd hate being reminded of God's narrow doorway every December. I'd be a raving Christmasphobe. Maybe also a Christianphobe.

My wife is on the right track. Without John 3:16 there wouldn't be a Christmas. Without Christmas there would be no hope for you, me, our families, our neighbors. No one.

But there IS a Christmas. And I thank God for the holiday the Holy Day. Each year Christmas reminds us just how much the Father paid for our gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

"Happy Holiday" is a humbug.

"Merry Christmas" is the beginning of an intimate relationship with Him.

Rich Maffeo, a popular writer and author of several books, will be writing a regular column for HSI in 2008, beginning with a series of meditations on the Nicene Creed. Stay tuned.

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