Yes, Happy Holidays! Happy Holy Days! All of them! I’m sorry that some Christian people are angry when they are greeted this way by checkout clerks while Christmas shopping. I hope they don’t respond in sanctimonious sarcasm, with their offended noses tilted in the air, “No, it’s MERRY CHRISSSTTTMASSS!!!”

I think it’s wonderful that American culture recognizes and celebrates an entire season of holy days, beginning with Thanksgiving, a day set aside for being grateful, and ending with New Year’s Day, a day of looking forward to new beginnings. Two holy days, a day of reflecting on the past year and recognizing how much we have to be grateful for, and another holy day of looking forward to the coming year with faith and hope, surround the holiest of days, the holy of holies, the day that makes the other two possible. The holiest of holy days, Christmas Day, is the day that God became a man, came and dwelt among us, and changed everything. It is this day that gives us hope for the future, for without it, life would be hopeless.

We do need an entire season to reflect on this great gift, the greatest gift ever given, the greatest gift we have ever received. Each year that I celebrate Christmas I enjoy it more, understanding a little more the mystery and the miracle that it is. The gratitude I feel at Thanksgiving is the entrance into the mystery of the Incarnation, culminating in an ever-startling revelation that because of the finished work of Christ, every day is a new beginning, every new year fresh with possibility. Christmas is the greatest wonder of all.

So, Happy Holidays! All of them! Celebrate the Trinity of Holy Days! Rejoice in the one who is able to turn sorrow into laughter, who will someday wipe all the tears from our eyes, cause all things to work together for good in our lives, and make everything new again. Merry Christmas!