A controversy over the holiday greeting used in retail stores during the Christmas season has some Americans speaking out against the annual trend, with Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren also weighing in.
As Christmas is fast approaching, retailers are getting ready to cash in using holiday decorations and music. Although songs using the word “Christmas” abound, the greeting itself remains taboo in some businesses.
The issue that has some observers shaking their heads is whether store employees should be allowed to use “Merry Christmas” as a greeting, the argument against it being that a store employee cannot assume every customer is Christian.
However, a recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 70 percent of American adults prefer retailers to use “Merry Christmas” signs in their stores. Twenty-four percent of those polled would rather see “Happy Holidays.”
“Stores refusing to acknowledge Jesus at Christmas are free to go start their own holiday. Just don't try to change His,” tweeted Warren, apparently weighing in on the annual discussion of taking Christ out of Christmas.
According to the survey, many adults across almost all demographic groups prefer “Merry Christmas,” with young adults feeling as strong as older adults. The poll showed that men have slightly stronger feelings in regards to seeing “Merry Christmas” than women.
Meanwhile, some influential Christians have been trying to remind the public that, unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas is first and foremost about marking the significance of Jesus' birth, as President Barack Obama noted recently in a ceremony of lighting the National Chrsitmas Tree.
Also, some experts say that among possible annoyances of the holiday season, Americans might be dreading going to church on Christmas Day this year, since it falls on a Sunday.
A report done by LifeWay Research last year showed that nearly 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement that “many of the things I enjoy during the Christmas season have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ.”
However, most pastors are planning for Christmas Day services anyway.
Saddleback Church., which normally holds two Saturday services and three Sunday services on a typical weekend at its main campus in Lake Forest, will be hosting only one service on Sunday.
However, the church plans to hold six services on Christmas Eve, and another six services on Wednesday through Friday leading up to the holiday weekend.