Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
Why are people so angry when someone says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas?"
Disclaimer: My friend permitted me to share the following story.
Upset by an encounter at the store, my friend called me from her car. She shared how upset she was that a clerk at the grocery store said, "Happy Holidays," after packing her groceries. My friend said she sternly corrected the clerk with the reply, "Don't take Christ out of Christmas. It's Merry Christmas! Remember that!" My friend said she left the store feeling angry and bothered. When she was all done venting, I said, "I don't know what all the fuss is about. After all, the word holiday means holy day." She wasn't buying that explanation.
We are still friends; however, we decided it would not benefit the friendship to talk about this subject again.
I don't know if it is an asset or a defect that I have an overactive fascination for the original meaning of words. My friend was adamant about her offense position with people who say, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." As soon as our conversation ended and I hung up the phone, I immediately researched and confirmed my understanding of the original meaning of the word holiday.
I referred to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Dictionary.com, and The Online Etymology Dictionary.
The etymology dictionary quotes:
1500s, earlier haliday (c. 1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day, consecrated day, religious anniversary; Sabbath," from halig "holy" + dæg "day"; in 14c. meaning both "religious festival" and "day of exemption from labor and recreation…"
So, what are people fighting about?
If holiday means holy day, then why are people fighting? It's just semantics. To me, both sentiments mean the same. After all, wasn't the birth of Jesus Christ one of the holiest moments of all time?
What is the difference between happy and merry?
Merriam-Webster's definition of the word merry is this:
Dictionary.com's definition of the word happy is this:
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
It does not matter to me.
When someone says Merry Christmas to me, I take it to mean they are pleased, full of delight, or high spirits about the birth of Jesus Christ.
When someone says Happy Holidays to me, I take it to mean they are delighted, pleased, and glad about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Both are expressions of good wishes on an extraordinary occasion. Both are expressions of joy and adoration of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Messiah who was born to teach us how to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by Him.
So, to all, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
May you have peace and joy during this season as you remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels
Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart
I like to listen to inspirational music in the morning, and one of my all-time favorite pick-me-up songs is Get on Your Feet by Gloria Estefan. If you're in my house when this song comes up on the playlist, you are likely to see me singing and dancing around the house like it's nobody's business.
I listen to all genres of music, especially Christian music. This morning, as I was contemplating what to write for this message, the song Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart, written by Eustace Henry Jr, started playing.
The lyrics are pretty simple:
Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son
And now let the weak say, I am strong
Let the poor say, I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us
What Are You Thankful For?
Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart reminds me of a time during a Thanksgiving Day meal, the host directed everyone to go around the table and say what they were thankful for. Each person graciously shared heartfelt moments and various things about which they were grateful. Finally, it was the host's turn to say what he was thankful for. Let me tell you, after he spoke, we were all grateful that we did not have to share our gratifications after him because what he shared would have made anyone else's story seem somewhat insignificant.
The host has a knack for flair. He wanted everyone to listen intently. When he was sure all eyes were on him, he took a bite of turkey, placed the fork down on his plate, and sat back in his chair. As he chewed slowly, he looked around the table, making eye contact with everyone in attendance. By now, we all are anxious to hear what he has to say. What he said was something simple but encompassed all of our stories in one sentence. He said, "I am grateful for the Son of God."
Suddenly, there was silence in the room. At that moment as each of us, being raised in a Christian home, knew the exact significance of the Son of God. And, of course, we all knew the Son of God, Jesus, was the ultimate thing in life to be grateful for.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16 (ESV).
"Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" Hebrews 9:12 (NKJV).
Many people are familiar with John 3:16, which tells us that God loves everyone. He loves us all so much that He gave up His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the sacrifice we needed to be forgiven once and for all.
Hebrews 9:12 shows how Jesus' blood is the only blood that could forgive us for our sins forever. From the moment Jesus died for our sins, we no longer have to give sacrifices for our sins. Jesus' blood covered us all forever. And now, because of that one sacrifice, we can have the greatest gift of all, a place in heaven.
That is a lot to be thankful for.
"Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, 'I am strong'" Joel 3:10 (NKJV).
"Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless" Isaiah 40:28-29 (NLT).
God does not steer us away from hardship and disasters. When we have faith in Him and trust Him, He gives us the powerful resources and strength we need to get through and overcome the things that happen to us.
"Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh'" Luke 6:20-21 (NIV).
"Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him" James 2:5 (NIV)?
The lyrics in the song, Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart, mention the poor being rich. Most people might equate this statement to mean financially rich. We who are Christians know this verse to mean that when we hunger and thirst after the Lord, we will be blessed and rich in faith. We are heirs to the kingdom that the Lord promised to us.
And now I ask you, "What are you thankful for?"
"Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things" Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV).
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day celebration and a wonderfully blessed life.
You are Chosen
As human beings, we are wired to be social and because of that, it is natural to seek out acceptance from others.
I remember those times during physical education class when we had to line up and be chosen to play on one team or another. The captain of their respective teams would take turns selecting their team members. Eventually, only two people were left standing. One of the two would be chosen by one of the captains and the other was the the person the team got stuck with after all the selections were made.
I never knew what went on in the mind of the last one standing, but I prayed that person would understand that even though they were not chosen to be a member of one of the teams before them, they would know that they have been chosen already by someone greater than anyone on earth. They have been chosen by God.
1 Peter 2:9:
You are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
What a wonderful thought that we are chosen to be on God’s team. We don’t have to do anything to earn our position and we certainly don’t deserve it.
Still, our Lord and Savior loves us, no matter who we are. We could be good, bad, talented, untalented, pretty, ugly, tall, short, or whatever terms the world uses to describe us.
It may sting a little when we are not chosen to be on a sports team. But, we need to learn to let it go because in the whole scheme of life, it truly does not matter. The fact is, you and I are God’s children. God chose us, each and every one of us to be members of His family. He chose us to be members of His team. And, there is no better team to be on than God’s team.
So dear teammates, the next time you are feeling unwanted, unappreciated, or unloved, remember you have the love of the Lord Almighty and there is no greater love to be found on earth than the love of the One and Only Lord God Almighty.
Today’s song is about how you are chosen by God. You are strong, precious and irreplaceable.
Song Title: Chosen
By: Sidewalk Prophets Composers: Ben McDonald, Dave Frey, Seth Moseley & Tommy Iceland
Copyright: Curb|Word Entertainment , January 10, 2020
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