As Christians, we are called to show God’s love to others. We’re also asked to tolerate quite a bit. Living in our multicultural society, I accept that others have beliefs and traditions different than my own. And I’m more than OK with this. I wouldn’t force my beliefs on anyone because it wouldn’t be fruitful and I’m just not that kind of girl. Besides, Christians in other parts of the world are called to suffer and be persecuted for their beliefs. So that helps me keep things in perspective as I think about celebrating Christmas.
I’m especially thinking about how it’s become more and more of a taboo to wish someone a Merry Christmas. If one pays attention to the media, it certainly seems like Merry Christmas has gone the way of any number of politically incorrect statements. Yet this has not been my experience, or the experience of many “everyday persons” I’ve informally polled. In fact, I think it would be more offensive to assume someone is so fragile that they couldn’t tolerate a wish of “Merry Christmas.” Sure, if I engage in a more in depth conversation with someone I will inquire about how they celebrate the holidays. Even if my ultimate hope is to share the faith with them, I believe I need to start by honoring their own beliefs. But sometimes all one has time for is a brief greeting. I hope you’ll tolerate my wish that you have a Merry Christmas.