In most areas around us we are still allowed to say Merry Christmas. We don’t have to substitute one of those other expressions like Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. They can seem materialistic or even anti-Christianity, which some have called a War on Christ-mas. More importantly, they omit any mention of the real reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Merry is based on an old English word, myrige, which meant merely pleasant or agreeable rather than joyous or jolly. It was seen in the first Christmas card dating back to 1843 that said Merry Christmas and the carol that begins, “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” That same year Charles Dickens produced the book, “A Christmas Carol,” in which cynical Ebenezer Scrooge said, “Every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding.” After the appearance of the three ghosts of Christmas transformed Scrooge, he said: “I am as merry as a school boy. A Merry Christmas to everybody.” He also reflected on Tiny Tim’s immortal words, “God bless us everyone.”
You will never guess why Queen Elizabeth II is said to prefer Happy Christmas (which began in the 1800s in England) in all her address-es to her holiday audiences. Her reasoning goes like this – merry can also mean intoxicated and she prefers to concentrate on the wholesome celebration of the Christmas season, rather than public insobriety. Well, OK!
Now you may or may not enjoy this story of a father and his two sons, one an optimist, the other a pessimist. He wished them a Merry Christmas in a crazy way, not recommended by anyone I know:
“A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist. Just to see what would happen, at Christmas time their father (this guy seems really strange) loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist’s room he loaded with horse manure. That night the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly. ‘Why are you crying?’ the father asked. The pessimist twin answered, ‘Because my friends will be jealous. I’ll have to read all these instructions before I can do any-thing with this stuff. I’ll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken.’ Passing the optimist twin’s room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. ‘What are you so happy about?’ he asked. The optimist twin replied, ‘There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere.’”
What a great kid!
Finally, we have a truly honest child’s letter: “Dear Santa, I’ve been good all year … OK, most of the time … well, once in a while … never mind, I’ll buy my own stuff.”
Here are some rules for Christmas – “ Don’t go into debt trying to show people how much you love them. Don’t go visit your family if it compromises your mental health. And if someone comments on your weight … eat them!
I wish you all a very happy, merry and enjoyable Christmas.
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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