Off the Wall, December 10,

If I can just change ten people’s minds as a result of what I’m about to state, then writing this column was worth it. I know the forces of the world are an influence of what and how people speak, but, on the other hand, they have to be responsible for what comes out of their mouths, as well.

So, here we are so many weeks away from Christmas and what do I hear? The cheerful salutation of ‘Happy Holidays.’ What the hey…?

Let’s try this again. We are weeks away from Christmas, Christ’s birth. A matter of fact, isn’t this why the reason for the celebration? Why are people decorating their houses, buying and giving presents and having parties in honor of Christ the King?

People, you’re missing it when you say “Happy Holidays.”

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a woman who lives down the street from me. We had a nice conversation about subject matter of which we were both familiar. She ended by leaving by making the statement that bothers me. I asked her why and she said, “We are told at work to say this now and we have to do as told.”

Do people really have to abide by world ways if they are true Christians? I don’t and I won’t. It’s as simple as that. If we are supposed to witness for Christ, then we have to stick by Him through thick and thin. To reform our ways by giving in to world behavior is tell our Lord He is in second place. As a follower of Christ, I vehemently disagree and so should true followers of Him who saved us by dying on the cross for our sins.

Can anyone really feel the anguish He went through by hanging on those nails that were hammered through his wrists? We are sinners and Jesus Christ, the Son of God died for each one of us. In a couple of weeks, we will be enjoying His birthday, right? Then what’s with this ‘Happy Holidays’ bit? Why not say it what it is? One should substitute ‘Merry’ and trash “Happy.’

And what’s this ‘Holidays’ thing all about? What I tell people is, “Holidays are for seniors who are retired. We know all about holidays because they are infinite. So, are all our days happy? Not at all. We are experiencing the golden years now, we are told. My wife said it best when she stated, “The golden years are now, for in the future, it can only get worse.” A truer expression hasn’t been said in a long time.

Now, I’m not saying that working people don’t have holidays. They do, and are allotted so much time to take time off for a vacation. So upon parting, workers can state, “Happy holidays,” and it would apply here, since one is departing from a particular responsibility for a period of time, then the word ‘holidays’ is in order.

But, to say it now, a number of weeks before Christmas, is shameful, at best. Stand up and speak up for the One who died, rose and is alive for a relationship with and for you. We are about to celebrate His birth! Alleluia!

A good many of us have celebrated birthdays. We know what that’s like. Surprises, gifts and gatherings all represent that special day. So it only comes down to the same thing when we celebrate Christ’s birthday. A matter of fact, could we have not gotten our ideas from the get go of His birth. Gifts were brought to the manger by the three kings. So, in retrospect, there must be something to this gift giving for this special occasion.

I’ve only encountered one individual whose parents never so much as gave him any kind of celebration for his birthday. I’m sure there are others, as well. We who were spoiled as small children know that when we advance in years, we will get cards sent to us, phone calls, and today, announcements even made of Facebook to wish someone a special happy birthday.

So when we call Smedley Porkhopple on his birthday, do we pretend it’s just another day and say nothing? True, we may not know it is indeed the day of his birth and subsequently not greet him, “Happy birthday, Smedley, my friend!”

So, if someone states, “Happy holidays,” being a representing Christian Christ wants you to be, respond “Merry Christmas to you,” or say nothing at all.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.