The last few years saw a lot more hype about the War On Christmas (cue exciting news channel montage) then this year, it seems, as previously Christians by the truck load were complaining about their local store not saying "Merry Christmas" as they completed their financial transaction. On this, I would like to make a few comments. (Or you could just ignore what's below and head over to EyeoftheTiber.com and read this hilarious fake news article.)
First. Dear businesses of the Western Hemisphere, you're welcome. You are very welcome for the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the God-man, of which an integral part of that celebration is the giving of gifts to one another. You are welcome for the fact that many of your businesses are in the red until a massive purchase frenzy ensues to prepare for Christmas giving. Enjoy the fruits of our celebration.
Second. When, dear brothers and sisters, someone says, "Happy Holidays!" instead of "Merry Christmas", it is OK. After all, the word holiday comes from the same place as Holy Day, as in, Holy Day of Obligation where you better get to Mass or else your be in mortal sin! Sure, they are probably being politically correct and are trying to be non-religion-specific in their salutations, but still, it works just as good as a Merry Christmas.
Third. If I'm being technical here, and I am, someone saying "Seasons Greetings" is actually more accurate then someone saying "Merry Christmas" before December 24. Speaking liturgically, we are in the Season of Advent until the evening Masses happen on Christmas Eve. After these Masses occur it is liturgically accurate to say "Merry Christmas" for a couple of weeks, because we are in the Christmas Season. Think of it this way, the Advent Season is to the Christmas Season what Lent is to Easter, it is an extended period of time in waiting (and repentance) that breaks open into a whole Season of joyful celebration. Remember the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas? That takes us to the feast of the Epiphany. It's not the last 12 shopping days leading up to Christmas.
Fourth. Who cares what people in stores say to us? They aren't honoring Christ by keeping their employees round the clock catering to a hypercommercialized, nearly secularized winter time excuse for a party. They are just trying to be nice enough to get you to leave with a smile and less cash. It never was about praising Christ so stop getting red faced trying to make them do it from your blog or whiny cable news show.
Fifth. The Roman Catholic Church saved Western Civilization. Her traditions, festivals, high holy days and local saints' feast days are so interwoven into our culture that not even Coca Cola's Santa Claus can paper over it. We own this. We got this. That's why no one can escape her influence when, in an effort to be P.C., they say, "Seasons Greetings!" or "Happy Holidays!" And this leads us to our next point...
Sixth. You just witnessed the power of inculturation. Our ancestors wove the Gospel into every facet of their lives and so today we cannot get away from it. Sure, people might sing "Jingle Bells" instead of "Silent Night", but the Solemnity of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is the reason behind it all. It is just like this nonsense with B.C.E. and C.E.- sure they named it away from "Year of Our Lord" in an effort to be secular, but only one person split history in half and nothing can change that.
Seventh. If you read points 1 through 6, you see the importance of the new evangelization. Our project is nothing less than the re-inculturation of the Gospel into Western (and Eastern) Civilization. As secularism continues, as this current Administration passes legal restrictions on the practice of our Catholic Faith, and as all traces of religion are wiped away from the public square, you will see staring you directly in the face the need for a movement of evangelization that is bigger than that which the Early Church gave to the Middle Ages. The Early Church gave birth to Christendom, which was extraordinary. Our task is impossible. We must resurrect Christendom from its current tomb, and you don't do that by whining. Thank God He's in the business of resurrection.