By Luella Dow

A joyful Merry Christmas

Of Cabbages and Kings


There are those of us who try very hard to remove the word “Christmas” from our vocabulary because we have been told it will offend someone. Christmas simply means Christ Mass. Is that offensive? Why has Christmas been chosen as offensive when vulgar expressions grow ever more popular and must be endured?

A long time ago Mr. Webster placed Mass on a middle page of his dictionary as “the liturgy of the Eucharist.” He explained liturgy as a form of public worship, a ritual. Eucharist, he said, meant the sacrament of Holy Communion, or in plain language, the Lord’s Supper.

The idea that one cannot say “Merry Christmas,” that one should be ashamed of it, brings to mind what has been put in its place: “Happy Holidays.” Those who think they are more enlightened than the old fashioned folks who cling to the old ways had better wise up.

The word “Holiday” according to old Mr. Webster means “holy day.” What? Yes, Webster tells us the word holiday can, among other things, mean a religious festival. So, in order to avoid saying Merry Christmas we are simply using another version of the same pronouncement. Have we been duped? Yes, Americans, so often asleep at the switch, are often duped over trivialities.

I’m aware Mr. Webster lived a long time ago and modern means of communication have left him far behind. However, the meaning of the words we use hasn’t changed. “Merry Christmas” spoken with a smile and a lilt to the voice still conveys a joyous greeting. Christmas carols are joyful songs and those who sing them, sing joyously.

Do you remember what Benjamin Netanyahu said after a Christmastime visit to America a year or so ago? As he said goodbye, he said, “Merry Christmas.” If a dignitary from a Jewish country can convey a message of genuine goodwill with a smile, I believe we Americans can have a joyful heart and do the same. Let’s all say “Merry Christmas everybody.” Sounds good to me. How about you?

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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