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November 23, 2015 | Volume 91 Number 2


Keep Christ in Christmas

As Advent approaches and Christmas draws near, we will see newspaper ads and TV commercials hyping terrific sales for merchandise with bargain prices to attract consumers to buy clothing and other items as Christmas gifts.

This is to be expected because Christmas holiday sales can make up more than half a merchant’s income for the year.

Some department stores and auto dealerships require sales personnel to greet prospective buyers with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” as a means of spreading holiday cheer. This came to light a few years ago when I responded to “Happy Holidays” from a smiling sales clerk by saying “Merry Christmas.” The woman almost sheepishly replied “Merry Christmas” and then told me that she and others in this major department store must give a generic holiday greeting.

One can only assume that wishing another a Merry Christmas might be offensive to non-Christians who might resent a greeting for a holiday they do not observe. Stores with disgruntled customers might choose to shop elsewhere. The profit margin for the merchant shrinks.

The same rationale motivates many people who send Christmas cards to family and friends. They select cards which again wish others well with “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings.” Sometimes the cards will have illustrations of snow scenes or a jolly Santa Claus but the word Christmas is omitted.

As I write this, many councils of the Knights of Columbus are selling boxes of Christmas cards at parish churches before and after Sunday Mass. The face of the cards feature a Nativity scene or the Blessed Mother holding the Christ child.

As one opens the card in the Christmas Beatitudes series, the words “May the Holy Spirit of the Christ Child born this Christmas Day rest upon you. And may this Good News live within you to share with all you love and meet throughout the bright New Year.” How appropriate.

The cards are part of the Keep Christ in Christmas campaign initiated by the Knights of Columbus. Purchasing the cards supports the good work these Catholic gentlemen do throughout the year and stress the true meaning of Christmas for Christians. Why would we not want to send them to friends and family?

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