But What’s in a Word?

15 Dec

You’ll hear it again, I’m sure. All the flap about saying, “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.” People seem to bring it up every year. So what’s the big deal? What’s in a word? Can’t you say either phrase and mean the same thing by it?

Well, I’m not so sure. Happy holidays focuses on everything from Halloween through New Years. That’s four holidays…holidays that are quite different from each other. But even the phrase Happy holidays betrays itself. The word holiday is a shortened form of an older English phrase: “Holy Day.” So whether you say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas,” you’re still referring primarily to a Christian holy day which celebrates Jesus Christ’s birth! Therefore, people who want to avoid reference to Christmas (a Christian holiday) should be consistent and invent a new phrase of their own. I suggest, “Have a happy day off work with your family,” because that’s all December 25 means to some people.

What’s in a word? A lot! Words convey meanings. They talk about what we want to say. When they don’t carry the significance of what we want to communicate, we should find a new way to phrase the point we’re making.

What does “Merry Christmas” mean? First, CHRISTmas is a reference to Jesus Christ, specifically the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem as narrated in the Bible. Also, ChristMAS expresses thoughts associated with worship on the day when Christians celebrate Christ’s birth. MAS refers to the Roman Catholic Mass as practiced in the Middle Ages…a worshipful celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth which included the offering of the Lord’s Supper to Christian believers. Also, the word MERRY means happy, joyous, cheerful. Merry Christmas is a wish that others will celebrate the birth of Jesus with feelings of pleasure and delight. Say it to someone, and you’re wishing—praying?—that God will give them great satisfaction and eagerness while worshiping his Son. There’s a lot in this phrase for me. So…

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Posted by on December 15, 2011 in FaithLife


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “But What’s in a Word?

  1. internet elias

    December 19, 2011 at 5:39 AM

    Mt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    When I consider the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ and the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’, I think of the above verses. Sad is the reality that the masses of the world will never believe in God…not in the real sense. Only the few true and faithful believers will find Him. Also, I am more aware of ‘in the world but not of the world. Two realities exist..the ‘happy holidays’ one and the ‘Merry Christmas’ one. Each person chooses which is in his/her heart. \

    Good thoughts. Thanks.


    • faithprober

      December 19, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      Thanks.I hold out a little more hope for the number of people Christ is going to save. I meet many in church and at other meetings and programs who may not be completely with the Lord’s ways and deeds, but they love Jesus. The people who attend worship at Christmas and a few other times may simply be struggling to find the faith or struggling through it. I think we’ll be surprised by how many people (and who) is with the Lord in the end. Stay positive!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: