When given the option of hearing “Merry Christmas” or a less religious greeting — like “Happy Holidays” — in stores and businesses, Americans choose Merry Christmas by a 60%-to-23% margin. When specifically given “doesn’t matter” as an option, however, a 45%-plurality have no preference for how they are greeted during the holiday season — 42% want Merry Christmas and 12% prefer the less religious greeting.
This survey focuses simply on a preference for Christmas greetings. Making conclusions on broader cultural issues with this data is difficult. But I am encouraged to see that many people still prefer “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.” What is discouraging is that, when given the option, many gravitate towards apathy (it “doesn’t matter”).
How we greet strangers, friends, and coworkers does in some small way show our religious leanings. And it does matter to a degree. Most importantly, however, may we be willing to show through our lives why the Christmas message is so urgent. After all, it’s not about a cultural battle over how to greet people during the holidays. It’s about reaching people so that they can see through the manger why the cross is central to salvation. That’s what makes “Merry Christmas” matter.
Merry Christmas Church Forward readers!