My friend Eaglewood has taken me to task for mocking Christians who think Wal-Mart shouldn’t have abandoned its “Merry Christmas” message in favor of “Happy Holidays”:
You are also mischaracterizing the "Merry Christmas" thing. It is not that we
wanted to force them to say merry Christmas any to allow their employees to say
it if they chose to without repercussions. At least that is where I came from
being someone who works in the retail industry part time.
With all due respect to Eaglewood, who is one of the most truly committed and thoughtful Christians I’ve ever met, he’s missing the mark here. The Wal-Mart “Merry Christmas” debate wasn’t just about the freedom of greeters to say “Merry Christmas.” Right wing groups also threw a fit because stores replaced their “Merry Christmas” banners with ones bearing the more generic “Happy Holidays.”
Here’s the question I have for Eaglewood and other Christians who insist that the “Merry Christmas” message ring throughout the retail world:
Tell me, please, what Wal-Mart has to do with the Christian meaning of Christmas? What does shopping have to do with it for that matter? Can any of you please explain how racking up holiday debt for DVD players, video games or other frivolous gifts honor Jesus? Is shopping a religious activity? If you see shopping as a secular rather than a spiritual activity then isn't Happy Holidays more appropriate than "Merry Christmas in a retail setting?
If you ask me, having a greeter wish you a Merry Christmas as you prepare to max out your Mastercard in the Name of Jesus just mocks the whole message Christ came to preach. People argue that removing the "Merry Christmas" message from retail stores is an attempt to remove Christ from our culture. I'd argue that it's the other way round. Associating Christ with shopping does far more to cheapen His name.