Before we talk about why today is a special day, let’s get a few definitions out of the way—via Dictionary.com.
Christmas: the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus. Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is generally observed as a legal holiday and, for many, an occasion for exchanging gifts.
Hanukkah: a Jewish festival lasting eight days. Hanukkah is celebrated from the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet in commemoration of the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees following their victory over the Syrians under Antiochus IV. It is characterized chiefly by the lighting of the menorah on each night of the festival.
Holiday: a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.
Break: stop, hiatus, pause (In this case, the synonyms are more accurate than the definition.)
If you wonder why I sound like a pocket dictionary, stay with me. For a while now, there has been a not-so-subtle push to erase the words “Christmas” and “Hanukkah” in favor of the term “holiday.”
The latest instructions in businesses and schools even go a step further. No Merry Christmas. No Happy Hanukkah. No Happy Holidays. They say, “Replace it all with, ‘Did you have a nice break?’”
Individuals who support such nonsense say things like, “Not everyone celebrates Christmas.” They add that “Not everyone is Christian (or Jewish).” They contend that saying “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah” offends those who don’t commemorate those holidays.
The latter argument reminds me of a message that was displayed last July in front of a local church. The sign read: “America: offended by everything but sin.”
The words stayed with me. I witness daily examples of their sad truth.
Each December, I observe the birth of Jesus by celebrating Christmas. I wish “Merry Christmas” to store clerks and people I bump into on my daily errands.
In doing so, I am not forcing what I believe on anyone. “Merry Christmas” is a big part of who I am. Not once has anyone been unkind. Not once has anyone said, “I find your greeting offensive!”
If the person I greet responds with “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays,” I am not offended in any way. Nor am I insulted if they are the first to wish me a happy whatever it is they celebrate.
Last I checked, this is America, a country that was founded on freedom. A great many brave people sacrificed, fought, and in some cases, died to establish and protect our liberties. One of which is the right to worship without interference.
Good wishes are good wishes. No American citizen should fear verbally extending them to others, nor expressing their reason for doing so. To allow others to redefine our individual beliefs—to silence us—is to give away our freedom.
There are numerous, humorous contradictions to this “no Christmas, no Hanukkah” agenda. For starters, the same people pushing it continue to encourage the masses to spend lots and lots of dollars on Christmas—whoops—holiday gifts.
The other inconsistency goes hand-in-hand with the key definitions I listed. A break in the work/school week does not happen without a holiday. A holiday does not exist without a special event or person to commemorate.
If we cannot name said event or person that is “the reason for the season” (holiday), then get back to work.
In other words, for those who observed Hanukkah, I hope it was a joyous time. If you’re all about “Happy Holidays,” have a world of fun. And to those who will celebrate today, I wish you a blessed and merry Christmas.
writer, blogger, columnist