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In its time

By Mike Ruffin Some people don’t mind when I say ‘Happy Holidays’ in person or on social media. Some folks don’t care for it. Others dislike it very much. To my way of thinking, it’s a non-issue. Please allow me to explain. To my way of thinking, the holiday season begins on Thanksgiving Day and ends on Epiphany, which falls on January 6. Several holidays occur between those beginning and ending days: Hannukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa among them. The Christian season of Advent encompasses much of the period. As a Christian, if I wanted to offer a more specific greeting or blessing during the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, I’d say ‘Happy Advent’ or ‘Blessed Advent’ or ‘Advent Blessings.’ That’s because Christians have our own calendar. Our new year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which occurs four Sundays before Christmas Day. The season of Advent continues through Christmas Eve. The word ‘Advent’ means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ During Advent, Christians anticipate the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas, the second coming of Jesus, and the coming of Jesus to us in new and unexpected ways here and now. On the Christian calendar, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Day and continues for twelve days, concluding on January 5, which is the day before Epiphany, which celebrates the revealing of the Christ child to the wise men. So as a Christian, those twelve days are the proper time for me to wish you a ‘Merry Christmas.’ To my way of thinking, ‘Happy Holidays’ is a serviceable generic greeting to offer during the holiday season for at least two reasons. First, it isn’t Christmas until December 25. Second, given that so many holidays fall during the holiday period, ‘Happy Holidays’ covers all the bases. That’s why right now the heading on my Facebook page says ‘Happy Holidays.’ When the Christmas season arrives, I’ll change it to ‘Merry Christmas’ and leave it that way until Epiphany. I’m not strict or legalistic about this, though. I’m not even consistent or careful about it. I’m sure I’ll say ‘Merry Christmas’ several times’”maybe many times’”before the season officially gets here. And if someone says ‘Merry Christmas!’ to me on December 12, I’m going to respond with ‘Merry Christmas!’ and not with ‘Happy Holidays!’, and I’m certainly not going to respond with ‘HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!’, which translated means ‘Don’t you know that it’s the Advent season and that it’s not Christmas yet and haven’t you ever heard of the Christian calendar and what kind of Christian are you anyhow and you can’t take away my right to say ‘˜Happy Holidays’ and why are you taking the wrong side in the War on Holidays anyway?’ No, I won’t reply that way because that would be tacky, and there’s plenty of tacky in the world without my contributing to the pile. Besides, this is the time of year when we should all be about caring, sharing, and love. So whatever you say and whenever you say it, say it with love. So I say unto you, with all the love in my heart’”Happy Holidays! And when the time comes’”Happy Hannukah! Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa!

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