Category: Christmas


Find out how Christmas Traditions and how Christmas is celebrated in lots of different countries and cultures around the world! Find out how your ancestors celebrate Christmas.

Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice celebrations as people danced round stone circles (The word carol originally meant to dance to something). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, usually taking place around the 22nd December. The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy! Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.

Early Christians took over the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas and gave people Christian songs to sing instead of pagan ones. In 129, a Roman Bishop said that a song called “Angel’s Hymn” should be sung at a Christmas service in Rome. Another famous early Christmas Hymn was written in 760, by Comas of Jerusalem, for the Greek Orthodox Church. Soon after this many composers all over Europe started to write ‘Christmas carols’. However, not many people liked them as they were all written and sung in Latin, a language that the normal people couldn’t understand. By the time of the Middles Ages (the 1200s), most people had lost interest in celebrating Christmas altogether.

This was changed by St. Francis of Assisi when, in 1223, he started his Nativity Plays in Italy. The people in the plays sang songs or ‘canticles’ that told the story during the plays. Sometimes, the choruses of these new carols were in Latin; but normally they were all in a language that the people watching the play could understand and join in! The new carols spread to France, Spain, Germany and other European countries.

The earliest carol, like this, was written in 1410. Sadly only a very small fragment of it still exists. The carol was about Mary and Jesus meeting different people in Bethlehem. Most Carols from this time and the Elizabethan period are untrue stories, very loosely based on the Christmas story, about the holy family and were seen as entertaining rather than religious songs. They were usually sung in homes rather than in churches! Traveling singers or Minstrels started singing these carols and the words were changed for the local people wherever they were traveling. One carols that changed like this is ‘I Saw Three Ships’.

Etching of old Caroling Singing Men from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Koledniki-valvasor.jpg

When Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans came to power in England in 1647, the celebration of Christmas and singing carols was stopped. However, the carols survived as people still sang them in secret. Carols remained mainly unsung until Victorian times, when two men called William Sandys and Davis Gilbert collected lots of old Christmas music from villages in England.

Before carol singing in public became popular, there were sometimes official carol singers called ‘Waits’. These were bands of people led by important local leaders (such as council leaders) who had the only power in the towns and villages to take money from the public (if others did this, they were sometimes charged as beggars!). They were called ‘Waits’ because they only sang on Christmas Eve (This was sometimes known as ‘watchnight’ or ‘waitnight’ because of the shepherds were watching their sheep when the angels appeared to them.), when the Christmas celebrations began.

Also, at this time, many orchestras and choirs were being set up in the cities of England and people wanted Christmas songs to sing, so carols once again became popular. Many new carols, such as ‘Good King Wenceslas’, were also written in the Victorian period.

New carols services were created and became popular, as did the custom of singing carols in the streets. Both of these customs are still popular today! One of the most popular types of Carols services are Carols by Candlelight services. At this service, the church is only lit by candlelight and it feels very Christmassy! Carols by Candlelight services are held in countries all over the world.

The most famous type of Carol Service might be a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, where carols and Bible readings tell the Christmas Story.

This year for Christmas I wanted to do something totally different. I wanted to include all of my friends, followers and family, from around the world in celebration of Christmas by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas in their native language.

Some languages below use different characters and alphabets, so I have also spelt them in English as best I can.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

African Languages

Afrikaans (South Africa, Namibia)

Geseënde Kersfees
Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin) Afishapa
Amharic (Ethiopia) Melikam Gena! (መልካም ገና!)
Chewa (Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe) Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha Kristmasi
Dagbani (Ghana) Ni ti Burunya Chou
Edo (Nigeria) Iselogbe
Fula/Fulani (Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, Togo, Guinea, Sierra Leone) Jabbama be salla Kirismati
Hausa (Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo) barka dà Kirsìmatì
Ibibio (Nigeria) Idara ukapade isua
Igbo/Igo (Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea) E keresimesi Oma
Kinyarwanda (Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo) Noheli nziza
Lingala (DR Congo, Rep Congo, Central African Republic, Angola) Mbotama Malamu
Luganda (Uganda) Seku Kulu
Ndebele (Zimbabwe, South Africa) Izilokotho Ezihle Zamaholdeni
Shona (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana) Muve neKisimusi
Soga/Lasoga (Uganda) Mwisuka Sekukulu
Somali (Somalia, Djibouti) Kirismas Wacan
Sotho (Lesotho, South Africa) Le be le keresemese e monate
Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya, DR Congo, Uganda) Krismasi Njema / Heri ya Krismasi
Tigrinya (Ethiopia and Eritreia) Ruhus Beal Lidet
Xhosa/isiXhosa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho) Krismesi emnandi
Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin) E ku odun, e ku iye’dun
Zulu (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland) UKhisimusi omuhle
Afganistan (Dari) Christmas Mubarak (کرسمس مبارک)
Albanian Gëzuar Krishtlindjen
Arabic Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد)
Which means ‘Glorious Birth Feast’
Armenian Shnorhavor Amanor yev Surb Tznund (Շնորհավոր Ամանոր և Սուրբ Ծնունդ)
Which means ‘Congratulations for the Holy Birth’
Belgium

Dutch/Flemish

Vrolijk Kerstfeest
French Joyeux Noël
German Frohe Weihnachten
Walloon djoyeus Noyé
Alsatian E güeti Wïnâchte
Bulgarian Vesela Koleda
China

Mandarin

Sheng Dan Kuai Le (圣诞快乐)
Cantonese Seng Dan Fai Lok (聖誕快樂)
Cornish Nadelik Lowen
Croatian (and Bosnian) Sretan Božić
Czech Veselé Vánoce
Danish Glædelig Jul
Esperanto Feliĉan Kristnaskon
Estonian Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
Finnish Hyvää joulua
France

French

Joyeux Noël
Breton Nedeleg Laouen
Corsican Bon Natale
German Frohe Weihnachten
Greek Kala Christouyenna or Καλά Χριστούγεννα
Georgian gilocav shoba-akhal c’els
or გილოცავ შობა-ახალ წელს
Greenland

Greenlandic

Juullimi Pilluarit
Danish (also used in Greenland) Glædelig Jul
Hawaiian Mele Kalikimaka
Holland (Dutch) Zalig Kerstfeest or Zalig Kerstmis (both mean Merry Christmas), Vrolijk Kerstfeest (Cheerful Christmas) or Prettig Kerstfeest (Nice Christmas)
Hungarian Boldog karácsonyt (Happy Christmas) or Kellemes karácsonyi ünnepeket (pleasant Christmas holidays)
Icelandic Gleðileg jól
India

Bengali (also spoken in Bangladesh)

shubho bôṛodin (শুভ বড়দিন)
Gujarati Anandi Natal or Khushi Natal (આનંદી નાતાલ)
Hindi Śubh krisamas (शुभ क्रिसमस)
Kannada kris mas habbada shubhaashayagalu (ಕ್ರಿಸ್ ಮಸ್ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು)
Konkani Khushal Borit Natala
Malayalam Christmas inte mangalaashamsakal
Marathi Śubh Nātāḷ (शुभ नाताळ) or Natal Chya shubhechha
Mizo Krismas Chibai
Punjabi karisama te nawāṃ sāla khušayāṃwālā hewe (ਕਰਿਸਮ ਤੇ ਨਵਾੰ ਸਾਲ ਖੁਸ਼ਿਯਾੰਵਾਲਾ ਹੋਵੇ)
Sanskrit Krismasasya shubhkaamnaa
Shindi Christmas jun wadhayun
Tamil kiṟistumas vāḻttukkaḷ (கிறிஸ்துமஸ் வாழ்த்துக்கள்)
Telugu Christmas Subhakankshalu
Urdu krismas mubarak (کرسمس)
Indonesian Selamat Natal
Iran

Farsi

Christmas MobArak
Kurdish (Kumanji) Kirîsmes u ser sala we pîroz be
Irish – Gaelic Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Israel – Hebrew Chag Molad Sameach (חג מולד שמח)
meaning Happy festival of the Birth
Italy

Italian

Buon Natale
Sicilian Bon Natali
Ladin Bon/Bun Nadèl
Japanese Meri Kurisumasu (or ‘Meri Kuri’ for short!)

Hiragana: めりーくりすます

Katakana: メリークリスマス

Korean ‘Meri krismas’ (메리 크리스마스) or ‘Jeulgaeun krismas doeseyo’ (즐거운 크리스마스 되세요)
Latin Felicem Diem Nativitatis (Merry Day of the Nativity)
Latvian Priecïgus Ziemassvºtkus
Lithuanian Linksmų Kalėdų
Macedonian Streken Bozhik or Среќен Божик
Madagascar (Malagasy) Tratra ny Noely
Maltese Il-Milied it-Tajjeb
Malaysia

Bahasa/Malay

Selamat Hari Natal
Malayalam Puthuvalsara Aashamsakal
Manx (spoken on the Isle of Man) Nollick Ghennal
Mexico (Nahuatl) Cualli netlācatilizpan
Montenegrin Hristos se rodi (Христос се роди) – Christ is born
Vaistinu se rodi (Ваистину се роди) – truly born (reply)
Native American / First Nation Languages
Apache (Western) Gozhqq Keshmish
Cherokee Danistayohihv &Aliheli’sdi Itse Udetiyvasadisv
Inuit Quvianagli Anaiyyuniqpaliqsi
Navajo Nizhonigo Keshmish
Yupik Alussistuakeggtaarmek
This page has a large list of Merry Christmas Native/First Nation Languages
Nepali Kreesmasko shubhkaamnaa (क्रस्मसको शुभकामना)
New Zealand (Maori) Meri Kirihimete
Norwegian God Jul or Gledelig Jul
Philippines

Tagalog

Maligayang Pasko
Ilokano Naragsak Nga Paskua
Ilonggo Malipayon nga Pascua
Sugbuhanon or Cebuano Maayong Pasko
Bicolano Maugmang Pasko
Pangalatok or Pangasinense Maabig ya pasko or Magayagan inkianac
Warey Warey Maupay Nga Pasko
Papiamentu – spoken in the Lesser Antilles (Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire) Bon Pascu
Polish Wesołych Świąt
Portuguese Feliz Natal or Boas Festas (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year)
Romanian Crăciun Fericit
Russian s rah-zh-dee-st-VOHM (C рождеством!) or
s-schah-st-lee-vah-vah rah-zh dee-st-vah (Счастливого рождества!)
Samoan Manuia Le Kerisimasi
Scotland

Scots

Blithe Yule
Gaelic Nollaig Chridheil
Serbian Hristos se rodi (Христос се роди) – Christ is born
Vaistinu se rodi (Ваистину се роди) – truly born (reply)
Slovakian Veselé Vianoce
Slovene or Slovenian Vesel Božič
Somali Kirismas Wacan
Spain

Spanish (Españo)

Feliz Navidad or Nochebuena (which means ‘Holy Night’ – Christmas Eve)
Catalan Bon Nadal
Galician Bo Nadal
Basque (Euskara) Eguberri on (which means ‘Happy New Day’)
Sranantongo (spoken in Suriname) Swit’ Kresneti
Sinhala (spoken in Sri Lanka) Suba Naththalak Wewa (සුබ නත්තලක් වේවා)
Swedish God Jul
Swiss Schöni Wiehnachte
Thai Suk sarn warn Christmas
Turkish Mutlu Noeller
Ukranian ‘Веселого Різдва’ Veseloho Rizdva (Merry Christmas) or ‘Христос Рождається’ Khrystos Rozhdayetsia (Christ is Born)
Vietnamese Chuć Mưǹg Giańg Sinh
Welsh Nadolig Llawen
Sci-fi & Fantasy Languages!

Klingon (Star Trek)

toDwI’ma’ qoS yItIvqu’ (Our Savior’s birthday you-enjoy!)
Quenya (Lord of the Rings) Alassë a Hristomerendë (Joyous Feast of Christ)
Sindarin (Lord of the Rings) Mereth Veren e-Doled Eruion (Joyous Feast of the Coming of the Son of God)

Matthew 1:18-25

For centuries, society has been slowly drifting down a broad river of change, but speed is picking up, and we have now entered the rapids. Even Christmas is not immune to these changes. It has become just a “holiday” to the world—and, sadly, even to some Christians.

“Merry Christmas” has been replaced by “Happy Holidays,” and carols about Jesus have been traded for songs celebrating Santa Claus, winter, family, and friends. Finding Christ-centered Christmas cards has become a challenge. Snowmen and sleighs have taken the place of manger scenes, which were once common in both private and public settings.

This slide away from Christ is the natural progression of the world, but it is not the direction that believers should go. Drifting is easy: you just relax and follow the path of least resistance. But going against the stream requires constant awareness and diligent effort. We must actively guard against letting the world steal Christ from our celebrations.

Christmas is not just a holiday; it is a holy day—the day God came to earth in the flesh of a tiny baby for the purpose of reconciling sinful mankind to Himself. Holidays are numerous, but there is only one Christmas.

The world tries hard to find pleasure in Christ-less holiday observances, but happiness is often elusive when experiences don’t match expectations. If you feel a sense of letdown, you may have drifted away from an authentic celebration of Christmas. Allow Jesus back in, and joy will return.

Luke 2:1-20

The first Christmas I remember was when I was perhaps three or four years old. I still recall the excitement the moment I awoke and leaped from my bed. I ran to the top of the stairs where I held a fabulous view of the tree and discovered that it was full of presents—and all of them were for mom, dad, my brother and I! I’m sure you, too, can recall memories from past Christmases, whether good or bad. There’s just something about that day that sticks in our minds.

You can be sure that all of the people who experienced the first Christmas never forgot it. Joseph remembered the weight of responsibility on his shoulders as he cared for Mary during their journey and searched for a place where she could give birth. And we can imagine that the shepherds often replayed in their minds the scene of glorious angels and the sight of the newborn Messiah. But Scripture mentions only one who “treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (v. 19). Mary had carried this baby in her womb for nine months, but now she saw what no one else had ever seen—the face of God!

What was it like to see deity displayed in the body of a newborn baby? Though we can never see what Mary saw, we can each remember when we first recognized our Savior—the moment we realized He died for us.

This Christmas, take time to remember when you first met Jesus. What was going on in your life? How did you feel after accepting His offer of forgiveness? How has your life changed since that day? Now imagine what it will be like when you finally see Him face to face in heaven.

Every year, people sing songs like “The First Noel” at Christmas, and many wonder what a “noel” is. In French, joyeux noel means “Merry Christmas.” Our modern English word comes from the Middle English nowel, which Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined as “a shout of joy or Christmas song.” The roots of the word are the French noel (“Christmas season”), which may come from the Old French nael. This, in turn, is derived from the Latin natalis, meaning “birth.” Since Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, it was natural for people to refer to the celebration as the “nativity” or the “birth.”

Another possible root for noel, also from the French, is the word nouvelles, meaning “news.” As the popular carol says, “The first noel the angels did say / Was to certain poor shepherds. . . .” The meaning of “news” certainly makes sense in that context; however, the early usage and definition of noel seem to focus more on the idea of birth, and that is probably the more accurate meaning.

There are very few records giving the details of the earliest Christmas practices, but at least as early as the 4th century, some Christian groups were celebrating natus Christus on December 25. Since their almanac referred to the day as “the birth of Christ,” it would be natural to see derivative words like nael and noel used in the same way.

In the Middle Ages, several English carols began with nowell, and French carols similarly used noel. Since early songs often used the first word as the title, a “noel” came to refer to any song about the birth of Christ. Because of this, the word now carries the dual meaning of a Christmas song and the Christmas celebration itself.

Our English carol “The First Noel” was first published in a book titled Carols Ancient and Modern, edited by William Sandys in 1823. The message of the song is the joyous pronouncement that the King of Israel has been born. When we sing the song or wish someone a joyous noel, we are following the example of the angels, announcing the good news that Jesus Christ was born, not just for Israel, but for all mankind, so we could receive forgiveness of sins through Him.

Speculation as to the time of Jesus’ birth dates back to the 3rd century, when Hyppolytus (ca. 170-236) claimed that Jesus was born on December 25. The earliest mention of some sort of observance on that date is in the Philoclian Calendar, representing Roman practice, of the year 336. Later, John Chrysostom favored the same date of birth. Cyril of Jerusalem (348-386) had access to the original Roman birth census, which also documented that Jesus was born on the 25th of December. The date eventually became the officially recognized date for Christmas in part because it coincided with the pagan festivals celebrating Saturnalia and the winter solstice. The church thereby offered people a Christian alternative to the pagan festivities and eventually reinterpreted many of their symbols and actions in ways acceptable to Christian faith and practice.

December 25 has become more and more acceptable as the birth date of Jesus. However, some argue that the birth occurred in some other season, such as in the fall. Followers of this theory claim that the Judean winters were too cold for shepherds to be watching their flocks by night. History proves otherwise, however, and we have historical evidence that unblemished lambs for the Temple sacrifice were in fact kept in the fields near Bethlehem during the winter months.

The truth is we simply don’t know the exact date of our Savior’s birth. In fact, we don’t even know for sure the year in which He was born. Scholars believe it was somewhere between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. One thing is clear: if God felt it was important for us to know the exact date of the Savior’s birth, He certainly would have told us in His Word. The Gospel of Luke gives very specific details about the event, even down to what the baby was wearing – “swaddling clothes”—and where he slept—“in a manger” (Luke 2:12). These details are important because they speak of His nature and character, meek and lowly. But the exact date of His birth has no significance whatsoever, which may be why God chose not to mention it.

The fact is that He was born, that He came into the world to atone for our sins, that He was resurrected to eternal life, and that He’s alive today. This is what we should celebrate, as we are told in the Old Testament in such passages as Zechariah 2:10: “’Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the LORD.” Further, the angel that announced the birth to the shepherds brought “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Surely here is the cause for celebration every day, not just once a year.

Christmas is a popular December holiday celebrated by large numbers of people all around the world. It has long been known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which occurred over 2,000 years ago. However, not all who celebrate the holiday do so with Jesus’ birth in mind. In fact, there are many traditions associated with Christmas that actually began as a part of pagan culture.

The exact date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, as the Bible does not give specifics as to the dates of either His birth or conception. But in the second century A.D., a Roman Christian historian named Sextus Julius Africanus calculated Jesus’ birthdate to be December 25 (nine months after Africanus believed Jesus was conceived). In spite of the assumptions made in Africanus’s line of thinking, the date was widely accepted.

At that time, Roman culture already celebrated a holiday on December 25: Saturnalia, the winter solstice. This tradition honored Saturn, the god of agriculture, and was celebrated with merriment, feasting, and gift giving. When Rome eventually instituted Christianity as the state religion in the fourth century, the Roman church converted Saturnalia to a Christian holiday in order to commemorate Jesus’ birth. Christians have celebrated it as such ever since.

The question then becomes, “Since Christmas has its origins in pagan traditions, is it acceptable for Christians to celebrate it?” The fact remains that, although Christmas has some associations with a secular holiday, Christians still celebrate it to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It may be a matter of conscience for some, for as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive.” There are many others who believe the holiday has been redeemed due to the deeper meaning it has been given. These individuals continue to celebrate Christmas based on Paul’s words further on in the passage: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (verse 31).

Muslims often experience the conflict between the families of Ishmael [Ismail] and Isaac. Since God gave the Torah and Savior to the Jews, is the Good News only for them? The following Bible passage clearly answers the question:

“And at the end of eight days [after Jesus’ birth], when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. . . .

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’

“And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’

“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God. . . .

“And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:21-40, emphasis added).

So is Jesus the Messiah for the Jews only? God did send Jesus to a Jewish family and nation, but Christ is also “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” and God’s way of salvation for “all peoples” (Luke 2:31-32). God sent Jesus not only to a specific people group but also to believers from across the world.

“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).

Although the world was separated from God due to sin, God provided Jesus to reconcile believers to Himself. Believers are those who turn from sin and trust Jesus Who paid the punishment for sin by dying on the cross. God proved Jesus won victory over sin and death by raising Jesus from the dead.

Believers realize they cannot earn a home in heaven by good works. They must be purified by Jesus’ perfect righteousness and atoning death. After saving believers, God gives them the strength to do good works, not for their salvation but for God’s glory and their reward:

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people” (Titus 3:3-8).

Now you understand why Jesus was born! After discovering the Christmas story, you probably have more questions to ponder. Diligently keep reading the Bible and praying to find the truth. To learn more about how Jesus accomplished God’s plan of salvation, you may want to begin the Bible study “Who is Jesus?”

As God reveals His truth to you through His Word the Bible, may you respond like the villagers who encountered Jesus: “They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world’” (John 4:42).

Many people perceive that there is a concerted effort to eliminate the word “Christmas” from public discourse—sort of a “war on Christmas.” The stories seem to be coming more frequently: a grade-school choir sings “We Wish You a Happy Holiday” instead of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for their “Winter Concert.” A library invites “holiday displays” from the community provided the displays have no religious connotation—the stable may have animals in it, but no people. It is possible to do all one’s Christmas shopping and never see or hear the word “Christmas” in the stores.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with saying “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” But if someone says “Happy Holidays” for the sole purpose of not saying “Merry Christmas,” then we are right to question what’s going on. “Why is the word Christmas censored?” we wonder as we wander through the malls. Why do some public schools celebrate everything from Kwanzaa to Labafana the Christmas witch, and ban the Nativity, all in the name of “inclusion” and “tolerance”?

One reason put forward by those seeking to avoid the word Christmas is that it would offend non-Christians. But, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 3 percent of adults in America say it bothers them when a store makes specific reference to Christmas. The exclusion of Christmas, then, is not really a way to “adapt” to a more diverse culture, but a way to engineer a more secular culture.

Many times, the arguments against Christmas programs and displays are couched in political terms, but the bias against Christmas goes much deeper than that. This is primarily a spiritual battle, not a political one.

How should Christians respond to the ubiquitous use of “Happy Holidays” and the exclusion of Christmas? Here are some suggestions:

1) Celebrate Christmas! Let the joy of the season show in your life. Teach your family the significance of Jesus’ birth and make the Christmas traditions meaningful in your home.

2) Wish others a Merry Christmas. When confronted with a “Happy Holidays,” get specific, and wish the greeter a “Merry Christmas!” You may be surprised at how many respond in kind. Even if you’re met with resistance, don’t let it dampen your cheer. Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew was rebuffed year after year, but it never stopped him from wishing his humbug of an uncle a Merry Christmas and inviting him to Christmas dinner.

3) Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). The Christmas season is a wonderful opportunity to share Christ’s love and the gospel message. He is the reason for the season!

4) Pray for those in positions of power (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Pray for wisdom. Pray for revival so that Christmas, instead of being “offensive,” would be honored by all.