Dec 05 2012
On Saying "Merry Christmas!"...or "Happy Saturday"

(Here's my response to the now-tired "Christmas wars", I wrote for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel a few years back. I post it during the - ahem - "Holiday Season", in case you want to pass it along, or start some discussions with it with those who might object to "Merry Christmas!" Or, you know, school districts who don't want to acknowledge our cultural history. And, by the way...Merry Christmas.)

Happy Wednesday!

No, wait. Check that. You likely know that “Wednesday” really means “Woden’s Day” -- a nod to the Teutonic god.

I, for one, do not worship Woden. I'm not wont to worship Woden, and, well, wouldn't worship Woden. Perhaps you pursue a personal relationship with Woden. But maybe not.

So forgive my insensitivity. Granted, in this culture, the fourth day of the week is, most obviously, “Wednesday” – why, it’s as obvious as, say, December 25th is Christmas – but we shouldn’t simply say things like that out loud because “it’s been that way” for centuries.

It’s time to recognize, and celebrate, our differences. Joining the celebration of religious expression is easy: Simply be offended by everyone else’s religious expression. Celebrate good times, come on.

What’s disturbing: Our own government continues to refer to this day as the Day of Woden, clearly embracing one religious view over others. Even our public schools embrace Woden, throughout school publications and practices. While I’m not steeped in Teutonic lore, I suspect, based on our monthly cafeteria calendars, that Woden remains the Teutonic Lord of pizza square, pear, brownie and choice of milk.

Not to mention these “Saturdays” we keep having! I try to be open-minded about this stuff, but c’mon: “Saturn” is just the Roman equivalent of the Greek god “Cronus”. What did Cronus do? Oh, boy.

“Cronus was the ruling Titan who came to power by castrating his Father Uranus. His wife was Rhea. There offspring were the first of the Olympians. To insure his safety Cronus ate each of the children as they were born..."

That's pretty much not cool. I don’t want to judge, I'd have to walk a mile in his shoes, etc., but -- I don't know, man -- this just seems out of line.

But he gets his own DAY for that. He castrates his dad, eats his kids…and then mall stores honor Cronus with “Saturday Sales Events”? I don’t even want to know what goes down at those things.

So yeah, stop saying “Saturday” around me. New rule: Even if the culture is steeped in it, and even if most even prefer it; even if it might seem to be reasonable to expect I could accommodate it, heck, even if it IS Saturday: don’t say it.

I remember my public high school (!) marching band, performing that song by Chicago: You know what day of the week, in the park, I think it was the fourth of that month named after a militaristic dead white guy. I doubt the whole crowd at the Assumption, Illinois football game was into Cronus. Krokus, yes. Cronus, pretty much no. Couldn't we have found something else to play? Times are changing.

Let’s re-name everything, and pretend our culture appeared out of thin air, thirty seconds ago. Sure, it would be a massive, and massively strange, project. We could make a court case out of it, since the Constitution itself doesn’t afford different protections for expression of mostly-dead religions and expression of religions more widely practiced.

Or, we could just chill, and recognize that, for example, Saturday is Saturday, whether I worship Saturn or not.

And we could even say that December 25th is “Christmas” whether you’re a Christian or not.

Heck, maybe then, with one of the most painfully annoying melody lines ever written, we could even wish you a merry one.

Comments (30) -

11/30/2011 10:21:18 AM
Adam United States
Feliz navidad IS terrible. I also agree. We have Thor's Day, the norse god of blacksmithing or something, I'm not at all interested in norse mythology. How about Moon Day, take a basic spanish class and you realizes it definitely is a day dedicated to our moon, which does rock. Then we have Mars' Day, albeit Germanized to Tuesday. Also, woden is basically German for Mercury.
Friday references frige which is Germanish for Venus, but I like to think people used to have deep-frying parties on the fifth day of the week and then somebody said 'Thank God it is Fryday' and forever the fifth day was called friday. (Seriously, the world would be a better place if we deepfried every Friday.) Oh and Sunday derives from worshiping sun gods... not the son of God.
So everyday is worshiping a god or the moon. Months aren't much better.
January = the god Janus.
February = a month of ritual for the moon.
March = Mars.
April = the color yellow... er that's just me... actually it is possibly a reference to aphrodite or venus.
May = The goddess Maia
June = Juno
July = Julius Caesar
August = Augustus, but I like to think it has ties to pagan ghost rituals.
September = The number 7
October = The number 8
November = The number 9
December = The number 10
The numbers don't match because Augustus thought it would be a funny prank to rearrange months.
11/30/2011 1:53:06 PM
JK Taylor United States
JK Taylor
Oh dear Brant!  Your mind on paper is so wild and hysterical!  You make me laugh every day!  Excellent point though!  Do you listen to Focus on The Family's "Adventures in Odyssey"?  You remind me so much of Wooten!!!  His character must be based on you. Smile
12/1/2011 4:14:45 PM
john allcott United States
john allcott
Good thoughts, dude. May we look at this from the other side, please? I'm all for saying Merry Christmas, but millions of people aren't, for a variety of reasons. Please, please don't ever react smugly or condescendingly to Happy Holidays. It's a nice greeting, after all. Unfortunately, there are Christian organizations at war with that nice greeting (AFA, for example). How are we going to win the world for the Lord Jesus when they see us as Pharisees with demands that they act like saints before they are saints?
12/2/2011 5:40:18 AM
anonymous United States
I second JK Taylor's thoughts; you are just like Wooton!

Great blog post. People need to hear this. Christian comedian Brad Stine did a great routine on this subject.
12/2/2011 8:24:15 AM
nicolej (: United States
nicolej (:
Brant man! Dude, I love you! I thought I was the only one that finds certain christmas songs irritating. Not the words, the melodies. For this reason I love relient k's 12 days of christmas. As for the rest of the blog, agreed! I'm going to make a shirt that says merry christmas on it and wear it everywhere!! If I can't wish someone a merry christmas... that's just whack. (collective shudder) I don't want to think about that.
12/2/2011 10:37:59 AM
brant United States
John, couldn't agree more.

Someone tweeted the other day, "'Correcting' a store employee's required 'Happy Holidays' with with 'Merry Christmas' is not a form of evangelism."

Since I wrote this, originally, for the Ft. Lauderdale paper, you can see the audience I had in mind.  Not trying to rally troops, so much as say, "Here's where we might all be able to relax and be neighborly."
12/4/2011 6:14:54 AM
Ken Hagerman(The Barba) Paraguay
Ken Hagerman(The Barba)
We are living outside the culture right now so we haven't experienced it as much this year. I do have a very low tolerance for the politically correct movement from which I think this stems.

Seriously grouchy old farts mellow out a little. I say Merry Christmas you say "I see a pale moon rising." Can't we all just get along?

@Adam Thanks for the info I really missed it on that Moon Day. I thought that meant....never mind.
12/7/2011 5:39:14 PM
Demetreanna United States
@ Nicole J
yeah I totally agree I love relient k's version of 12 days of christmas. I just heard tfk's version of the song about the miser brothers in that claymation christmas special. I love the songs that take a totally different spin on those annoying christmas songs haha
12/13/2011 11:48:42 PM
Alfredo Sauce United States
Alfredo Sauce

Check this out brant, it specifically tells you which stores are for and against the word christmas! lol.  I came across this and said "I have to share this with him"
12/27/2011 1:16:16 PM
kittypie United States
How come noone told me  you were blogging again????
12/6/2012 4:37:36 PM
Jennie United States
Is this a good time to request that Brant sing his version of "The Little Drummer Boy" at Club Awesome? Merry Christmas everyone!
12/6/2012 6:10:52 PM
Jason United States
I'm not one to care too much if/when peeps cheerfully (sometimes obnoxiously so) wish me a Merry Christmas, even though I don't observe/celebrate it because I happen to know it's origins and purposes, and that it is NOT pleasing to my Heavenly Father for me to try and worship HIM in the way that the heathen/pagan nations did/do (Duet. 12) by participating in it and all it's pagan rituals.  I don't usually get too bent out of shape on any of these things, unless asked or confronted about my lack of "christmas spirit".... lol.  THEN I may let someone have it at that point.  Wink  As far as Saturday goes, why not just call it Sabbath, since that's what it really is (the 7TH day of the week)??..... just sayin'.  Wink  
12/6/2012 6:29:26 PM
Angela United States
Brant my pastor actually spoke on the use of the phrase Merry Christ-mas last Sunday and he touched on the fact that ~holiday~ is actually derived from Holy day; therefore, if we want to get technical when they say we can't say Merry Christmas then go ahead and say "Happy Holidays" because you are really saying "Happy Holy Days".....
12/6/2012 11:15:31 PM
Kat United States
I agree about the pagan origins making the wars really pointless. The wiccans and pagans laugh at us (and have in the past) for claiming the day for the Christians and the season for Jesus who being an orthodox Jew, wouldn't celebrate birthdays because it was/is a strictly pagan practice. So what if the whole world (minus the Sabbath keepers in general) are following the edicts the pope set down when he intergrated pagan practices into the church? Why change it just because God said to "come out from among them and be separate", and to be "in the world and not of it"?  God understands we can't change our whole life and be socially outcast just to obey His commandments right?  Right?
12/7/2012 11:18:22 AM
Anthony United States
Yeah Brant, I agree completely. Why are they favoring other religions every week when we can't have one day a year? haha I find that ridiculous. I try to tell people at my school that, there's a difference between making sure religion isn't pushed, and then shutting it out.
12/7/2012 10:59:35 PM
Randy United States
Is the melody really that annoying to you? Or are you just trying to be cute?

on a more serious note,

Are you, by taking the idea of courteousness and respect to the nth degree of ridiculousness, trying to prove all grace-full reevaluating of offensive words to be invalid? No, I don't think so. You're mostly "concerned" (perhaps "concerned" in a tongue-in-cheek way) about keeping Christ in Christmas, right? Because lots of evangelicals (convinced more by FOX News than by reality) are quite certain there's an insidious war on Christmas going on, right? Earth to Brant: You're jousting with windmills, sir. There is NO war on Christmas "as we know it"--certainly every retailer in North America knows that this is, without a doubt, the CHRISTMAS shopping season, not the holiday shopping season. And all our calendars list December 25 as Christmas.

If there's really a war on Christmas, it's being fought by those very same people most bent out of shape about the so-called "War on Christmas" they envision being waged by those evil secular humanists hell-bent towards changing the words of "O Christmas Tree" to "O Holiday Tree." (Never mind that "holiday" is a perfectly good and religious term in itself, meaning "Holy Day.")

No, Brant, the saboteurs of Peace on Earth are those who believe AK-47's or whatever assault weapon should be available to all Americans as constitutional (and, by implication, a God-given) right. The real war on Christmas are those who believe Leviticus should be taken literally with regards to gays and lesbians while, at the same time, choosing to totally ignore the biblical theme of God's preferential option for the poor, the Song of Mary, Malachi 3 (an Advent reading), and hundreds of other scripture warning those who oppress the powerless, the ones with no voice.        
12/10/2012 6:37:51 PM
Aolani Esene United States
Aolani Esene
I could not have written it better, Brant.  Love this article.  God bless us all.  Thank you for what you do for the Kingdom of God.  

HE>i  Smile
12/11/2012 1:25:57 PM
Brendan Siegert United States
Brendan Siegert
12/11/2012 1:31:46 PM
Gwen United States
Brant, you are AWESOME Smile

Thank you for writing this comical yet true article!
12/11/2012 3:08:49 PM
Hannah Ruth United States
Hannah Ruth
This article, super awesome. Really couldn't have said it any better.
12/12/2012 6:41:41 AM
beth taylor United States
beth taylor
There was a time that "Happy Holidays" meant "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year" wrapped into one greeting.  So if you hear a worker say "Happy Holidays" and need to say something why not just say "Oh Yeah, Happy New Years to you too."  Maybe we will remind others how silly it is to not just say "Merry Christmas".  I know there are certain stores that are back to saying "Merry Christmas".
12/13/2012 12:54:19 AM
Leanne Evans United States
Leanne Evans
I believe as a Christian we must be tolerant, but it does sometimes get under my skin when, in the era of PC, that Christians are walked all over.  To me, Happy Holidays" is good for encompassing Thanksgiving through New Year's, but I'm saying Merry Christmas come this time of year. If people would stop long enough to realize that another human was kind enough to take two seconds to wish them something that didn't also have a swear word in it or a hand gesture that wasn't family friendly; folks would lighten up.  I will say I am glad my children are grown and don't have to participate in Pre-Winter Break concerts where apparently a hippo is the star.  Keep in mind this is coming from a woman who celebrates the true meaning of Christmas during the week of Christmas and the Commercialized Christmas in the summer with her children.
12/13/2012 9:42:50 AM
Randy United States
The wildly popular and accepted-as-gospel idea, Leanne, that "Christians are walked all over," is totally ridiculous. Yes, it's assumed true in the original essay and by most commentators who are in applause-mode. But it's just not true.

One other thing made me smile. Have you noticed? Whenever you read "I know as Christians we must be tolerant," you can almost bet the next word will be BUT. Besides, the whole War on Christmas premise is a misnomer.... but that's covered in my previous comment    
12/13/2012 9:59:30 AM
Leanne United States
Randy, it took me awhile, but finally found your previous comment. (I am blind and my screen reader will only go as fast as my fingers allow)  I have to say that I only go by personal experience; not forms of media.  You can't deny though that in the race to be PC, Christ is taken out of many things and we are asked to tread lightly in order not to offend.  I don't understand what the big deal is with any of it.  I am blessed to live where I am not imprisoned or killed for my belief in Christ and am not about to shine less brightly because we shouldn't go offending others.  
12/13/2012 1:10:32 PM
beth United States
Amen Leanne!  We are living in a very PC
world.  But we are living in a worldly world as well, a broken world.  We have to understand that even in America we will be questioned and tested in our faith and also even hated for it. So we are not to be apologetic in our faith but at the same time I don't think we should be so shocked.  But I completely agree to be bold in our faith and shed Jesus' light especially at Christmas time.  BTW we are not asked to be tolerant as Christians, we are told to be bold in our faith and have an answer to why we believe.  No buts about it! Smile
12/13/2012 1:15:05 PM
Leanne United States
Thanks for the Amen my sistah in ChristSmile
12/13/2012 9:29:37 PM
Corey United States
holiday is infact holy day,
i don't understand how an atheist or agnostic thinks they're "escaping" reference to a God by going with "happy holidays", to me, joke's on them.

just like when in the late 90s theologeans posted that the number of the beast may actually instead be 616, imagine all the previously existing 666 tattoos and album covers, -- failing over the open seas.  i laughed for 3 days straight, "ha, your deity sounds like the name of a mazda sedan! :-p".

some things i won't waste my time arguing with those who want to argue:

- what day Jesus was born.  it doesn't matter, we've picked Dec.25 to celebrate it.  
hey don't whine we only took 1 day, Jewish people glommed a whopping 8 days, we look positively spartan by comparison ;-D.

- "reason for the season" still applies, it's a time to give, and to discuss why we give - whether humanist or spiritual, giving is giving, and it's good.  what's to argue?   heck in this economy i actually feel good about shopping because i know how many people in the long chain of product existence are getting a slice of the pie.  a lot of people have jobs to feed their families - because others shop.  so shopping a little more in this time of year is a boost for them.  i don't get upset at the "Hallmark cards concept" - i admire their ingenuity.  i'm not upset we now have purple & orange lights for Halloween, i love seeing them, and i know somewhere somebody is now employed making and selling those lights.  in one sense, shopping is giving - look at Ebeneezer Scrooge.  look at Jesus's parable about being miserly.  

And in order to pay for all this stuff i do during Christmastime i intentionally starve myself a little bit.  i purposely don't buy myself anything during this time - mainly for monetary reasons but also because someone may want to give me "that new Kutless CD i've been talking about", and i wouldn't want to spoil their joy of giving it to me by finding out i just bought it for myself a week earlier.  ...if i don't receive it for Christmas i'll go buy it in January ;-D !

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  *<|]:o)>~  
12/16/2012 2:44:42 AM
Kimi ;~} United States
Kimi ;~}

my lil babe Braddah Brant:
need I say more ... clap clap clap clap

U SIMPLY ROCK @ everything...
Sista in Jesus Christ,
Kimi ;~}
1/5/2013 4:49:32 PM
John Hagala United States
John Hagala
Dear Brant,
to be honest, i'm not commenting on this specific blog. I recently heard something you said on the radio about how it doesn't make sense that our body cells stay together because it consists of neutrons which should repel each other. Well I discovered about 2 years ago what holds our cells together. It's called laminin. If you look it up online, and go to images, you will be blown away. If this isn't proof of Jesus' sacrifice and care for us then i don't know what possibly could be.
1/18/2013 9:00:47 PM
Kristina United States
Very good points. And, I think it's important to point out that other religions have holidays that  come from their traditions, and we don't get to be offended at them. If you want to wish everyone merry Christmas (and I do), then be prepared to get "and happy winter solstice"or, depending on the calendar that year, even "happy  Eid."  If you want your kid to be able to talk about Christmas in his classroom, be prepared for him to hear about  Diwali .that isn't meant to be a dig at anyone, just a reminder of what religious freedom really means.
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