A “happy Christmas?” What happened to “Merry Christmas”? Back in the halcyon days of our cultural innocence and our racial/gender/transgender/non-mulicultural/age/class/political/religious/ educational “insensitivities”, Americans thought nothing of wishing their friends and family—even perfect strangers-- a “Merry Christmas”. I still do so, and I refuse to capitulate to the smarmy progressive “moonbats” and their brain damaged, guano-producing flock in our midst who consider me to be hopelessly old fashioned, culturally elitist, set in my ways, and unwilling to change. To those accusations I proudly and without apology plead “guilty”. Period—end of discussion! (But not the end of the article!)
The wonderful old salutation, “Merry Christmas”, has been around for centuries. The meaning of the word, “merry”, has had a changing etymology over the ages. In earlier centuries the word, “MERY”, or “MERRY”, meant “pleasant, peaceful, or agreeable”. For example: “Make merry” (ca. 1300), “Merry England” (ca. 1400), “The merry month of May”, (ca. 1560’s). Word historians (etymologists) generally agree that the first use of “Merry Christmas” as a seasonal greeting was in 1534, when on Dec. 22 of that year, John Fisher wrote a message of seasonal greetings to Thomas Cromwell (in England), when he said: “And this our Lord God send you a “Merry Christmas”, and a comfortable, to your heart’s desire.”
By the time that Charles Dickens published his now world-famous book, “A Christmas Carol” (1843), the meaning of the word, “merry”, had changed to mean “jovial and outgoing”, and in many circles it surely also indicated the expectation of “mild intoxication” (as in ‘making merry’ with alcoholic beverages). In fact, many of the traditions and excesses of our modern “Christmas Season” can be traced to that time in England when celebrating and partying with one’s family and friends became the reason for the season, rather than the veneration of our Lord and Savior and reflection about the fact that He came to live with His created ones for a time and teach them how to abide with Him eternally.
DID THE PILGRIMS/PURITANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?
The short answer is NO -- they did NOT celebrate Christmas or ANY days considered as “holidays” by other Christians or by the Roman Catholic Church. The Separatist Pilgrims of 1620 Plymouth, and their Puritan cousins who established the Massachusetts Bay Colony around Boston in 1630, never celebrated Christmas or Easter because they could find no Biblical commands to do so. The ONLY “holy day” that these ancestors observed was the Sabbath Day. On the first Dec. 25 spent in New Plymouth, in 1620, (and for months thereafter) the Pilgrims occupied themselves in building their humble homes, constructing their large ‘common house’ (a combination fort, church, and meeting place) on what is now the top of Leiden Street in downtown Plymouth, and tending to their sick, which they had in abundance.
To our Pilgrim/Puritan progenitors, Christmas day was considered to be a pagan holiday, because in 17th century England and Europe, Dec. 25 had deteriorated into a day wherein Christians (loosely defined) spent their time feasting, partying, and often drinking alcoholic beverages to excess. It has been recorded that very wealthy landowners of that time opened the doors of their homes to the poor of their villages or towns on Dec. 25th, and gave out food and drink as “an act of charity”. As reported in THE WEEK blog (Dec. 20, 2011): “The poorest man in the parish was named the ‘Lord of Misrule’, and the rich would wait upon him at feasts that often descended into bawdy drunkenness. Such decadence never impressed religious purists.” As 16th century clergyman Hugh Latimer (who was martyred in 1555) reflected: “Men dishonor Christ more in the 12 days of Christmas than in all the 12 months besides.” Little has changed over the centuries, because they still do!
In 1659, the celebration of Christmas Day was officially banned in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. If anyone was caught surreptitiously celebrating Christmas in ANY way, he would be fined 5 shillings. In fact, it was only in 1856 that Christmas celebrations were made legal in Massachusetts.
WHY HAPPY HOLIDAYS?
It should be obvious to all but the willfully blind among us that the “political correctness” curse is the scourge of our day. The “perpetually offended” are all around us, ready to pounce on any fellow citizen or business owner who dares to deviate from what they perceive to be the current and “officially correct” mode of speech, of actions, of thought, of dress, of behavior, of religious pluralism, of “main stream” (or radical/socialist) politics, or whatever (including, of late, the refusal of some of our fellow citizens to wear those almost USELESS face masks to “protect all of us” from Covid-19). Over recent decades it has become “offensive” and “insensitive” in progressive moonbat circles to wish those who are strangers or mere casual acquaintances a “Merry Christmas”, particularly when the “wisher” doesn’t know whether or not the “wishee” might be offended at the mention of the word, Christmas. After all, said “wishee” might be a Satanist, a Wiccan, a Muslim, a Jew, an atheist, or a tree hugger who might respond with violence (or law suits) merely upon hearing those foreboding and terribly “threatening” words: “Merry Christmas.”
Sadly, far too many Americans who consider themselves to be Christians, and far too many so-called “American” businesses, have succumbed to the fear of offending someone -- to the freedom destroying pandering of those who have “axes to grind” or who put their financial well being or their profits over the liberty that Americans have always enjoyed. After all, it’s just a ‘mere inconvenience’, a ‘minor compromise of our freedom’, to surrender in fear of being persecuted or harassed or “cancelled” by some screaming and threatening banshee of the left, or some brain damaged progressive with hate in his heart and Godless socialism in his mind. Thankfully, some American businesses in some parts of the U.S. are resisting these insanities, and are reverting back to the old, traditional forms of Christmas greetings and decorations.
Personally, I always refuse to be politically correct, and I will NEVER utter the words, “Happy Holidays” to anyone. I’m not offended by the
seasonal greetings of those who disagree with me (I’m always polite).
Whether or not my salutation offends them is their problem, not mine, and I absolutely refuse to be intimidated by brain damaged morons who take offense at long-established cultural “icons”. Personally, I like the seasonal greeting, “Happy Christmas” better than “Merry Christmas”. It seems to reflect the spirit of the season more accurately, because as Christians we should be HAPPY that our LORD and Savior lived with mankind long ago and showed us how to abide with Him forever. If you refuse to believe that, you can still be “merry” during this season, with all that implies for your present and future.
In this, I’m reminded again of old Ebenezer Scrooge, the recipient of the three “spirits’” midnight visitations in Dickens’, A Christmas Carol (1843), and the stern warnings they delivered to him. Scrooge then repented of his former malignant attitude toward Christmas and Christianity, and we all like to infer that he was “saved”, although sadly that is only conjectural. Dickens’ final words of that great story should apply to all of us:
“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew. … Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them. … His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.
“… And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well. … May that be truly said of us. … And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God bless us, everyone’.”
A MERRY, OR HAPPY, AND CHRIST HONORING, BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!