Christmas The Controversy

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By Floyd Miller | December 18, 2005

Christmas, what a holiday! It should be a time of joy and happiness, but our country is in a debate over what’s proper, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.Controversy surrounding {{more}} Christmas is nothing new. I remember as a boy, my parents explaining Christmas and Santa Claus. My parents main contention with Christmas was that we didn’t know when Christ was born, therefore we couldn’t say for sure December 25th was His birthday. We did celebrate Christmas, but never went so far as to say this was the day he was born. Despite our non-acceptance of December 25th being Christ’s birthday there was no doubt in our minds that Christ was the saviour of the world.The next controversy came when I was in grade school. We begin to write XMAS instead of Christmas. I think that it was my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Eloise Mitchell who let her wrath out on the whole class. She said, “Spelling Christmas, XMAS was leaving Christ out of Christmas.” I’m sure that any paper turned in with the XMAS spelling caused us to lose a few points. Therefore if you were a borderline student needing every point, you spelled out Christmas.Today the radio talk show hosts are arguing about a store’s right to greet its customers with the phrase Happy Holidays. The argument is Christ is being taken out of Christmas if a storeowner fails to greet you with Merry Christmas. Maybe Christ was taken out of Christmas over 20 years ago when people stood in line and fought over the last “Cabbage Patch Doll”.Christmas in the United States is highly commercial, however it is a good time of the year. I was reviewing the Christmas cards I’ve received from friends and relatives, 80% of them are wishing me a Happy Holiday Season, and the other 20% are wishing me a Merry Christmas. What is really fascinating about these cards is that they are all wishing my family and me well. Here is an excerpt from one of the cards, “In lieu of hosting our annual Holiday Open House our staff has chosen instead to celebrate the spirit of the season by making a generous donation to the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. I wonder whose spirit led them to do that, could it have been the Spirit of Christ? The cards I have received so far this year are from people that profess Christianity. They believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died for our sins. Yes that includes those that sent cards wishing me a Happy Holiday Season. The most poignant card I got this year was from my friend Bill McDuff and his wife Dolores. Bill lost his battle with cancer this fall. Mrs. McDuff granted me permission to print her note and their card in its entirety. “Dear Friends, Bill chose and ordered these cards in September. His intention was to be here for Christmas and send these to all of you. The verse accurately reflects Bill’s view of the real meaning of Christmas cards. Love, Dolores” My Christmas Card ListI have a list of folks I know, all written in a book,And every year when Christmas come, I go and take a look.That is when I realize these names are all a part,Not of the book they’re written in, but of my very heart.For each name stands for someone who has crossed my path sometime,And in that meeting they’ve become the rhythm in each rhyme.While it may seem fantastic for me to make this claim, I really feel that I’m composed of each remembered name.And while you may not be aware of any special link,Just meeting you has changed my life more than you may think.For once I’ve met somebody, the years cannot eraseThe memory of a pleasant word or of a friendly face.So, never think my Christmas cards are just a mere routineOf names upon a Christmas list, forgotten in between.For when I send a Christmas card that is addressed to you,It’s because you’re on the list of folks I’m endeared to.For I am but a total of the many folks I’ve metAnd you happen to be one of those I prefer not to forget.Whether I have known you for many years or few,In some way you have had a part in shaping things I do.And every year when Christmas comes I realize anew,The best gift life an offer is meeting folks like you.So may the spirit of Christmas that forever more enduresLeave its richest blessings in the heart of you and yours.I think the message in Bill’s last Christmas card is the message that all of us have been trying to communicate for years. I hope we don’t let the talk show host on the left or the right kill the Spirit of Christmas .My family and I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.