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The Merciad

Celebrating Christmas using Catholic traditions

Mathew Jury, Staff writer

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That time of year is coming again.  After finals, we will be gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year, which is, of course, Christmas.

Christmas, or as I shall say, “Christ’s Mass,” is the yearly celebration of Our Lord’s birth, despite the likelihood that Jesus was probably born in March.

It is commonly celebrated by spending time with family, celebrating His birth during the holy Mass, hence the name, and giving gifts to each other as the Magi did for our king.

Our method of gift giving will vary depending on several factors, including age. Our youth will often receive a visit from Jolly Old St. Nicholas, also famous for punching the heretic Arius in the face during the first council of Nicaea, either receiving the toys and games they wanted if they behaved or coal if they did not.  I do not think I know anyone who ever received coal, but I could only imagine the shame that comes with it.

Other traditions refer to Santa Claus as Père Noël and other cultures will have St. Nick travel with Krampus, who would beat naughty children as a punishment for their behavior.

For those of us who are much older, our gifts often come from family or perhaps a special someone in your life.Some of us will spend our Christmas giving to the community through soup kitchens or Salvation Army drives.

Christmas is the time of year that we spend offering our generosity, and perhaps mercy, to others as a gesture of goodwill.

With this idea of good will, it puzzles me to see the movement toward not acknowledging Christmas or any other holiday usually celebrated around this time, such as Hanukkah, Solstice, or Kwanzaa.

Instead, sometimes we are just given the blanket statement of “Happy Holidays.”

Admittedly, I am finding we are trending back toward greeting each other with “Merry Christmas” or whatever other holiday is deemed appropriate, but I still find some insisting on sticking with the politically correct “Happy Holidays.”

I have seen this trend appear on our Catholic campus, unfortunately. I understand that as a Mercy school, and that we need to acknowledge all faiths.

I have not seen much of the bookstore’s Christmas merchandise stock yet, but if it will be like what I saw last year, we will be seeing a lot of “Happy Holidays” and not a lot of “Merry Christmas.”

I feel that As a Catholic university, instead of us simply giving the blanket “Happy Holidays” greeting, we need to greet each other this season with a “Merry Christmas” to acknowledge the real reason for the season.

We are a Catholic and a Mercy school, so it needs to be “Merry Christmas” here, along with whatever other holidays we as a student body celebrate.

To conclude, we need to remember why we have this holiday season, why we have a long break between fall and spring semesters, and why we are able to utilize all of the sales at our department stores.

It is because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by the Holy Ghost, came down and was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, for the sake of our salvation. We celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Lord. Merry Christmas and remember the reason for the season.

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The student news site of Mercyhurst University
Celebrating Christmas using Catholic traditions