Hearing “Happy Christmas” for the first time causes many American children to laugh and jeer at the speaker. They reply, “It’s not ‘Happy Christmas.’ It’s ‘Merry Christmas.'” Oh, the innocence and ignorance of know-it-all youths. Allow me to provide the reason behind “Happy Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas” Means Something Completely Different than “Happy Christmas”
Educated Britons understand the history behind the term “Merry.” We Americans, who grew up saying “Merry Christmas,” only learned the phrase “Happy Christmas” when we heard Queen Elizabeth II say it. Something she does every year during her Christmas broadcast.
Americans can view these broadcasts on BBC America, squeezed between Doctor Who marathon episodes on Christmas Day. Hearing the British Queen use the phrase piqued my interest. So, I asked someone with a great vocabulary why she said “Happy” instead of “Merry.” And upon receiving an answer, I proceeded to do some research on it.
The short explanation is that “Merry” used to mean intoxication and social misbehavior. Whereas “Happy” expresses joyous feeling without any religious or social deviances. And as we know from Queen Elizabeth II and her council, they believe people ought to obey God and follow the Christian faith. At least, that’s what The Crown portrayed. And I agree with the message.
Why Some State It’s Better to Say “Merry Christmas” Instead of “Happy Christmas”
According to blogger Gene Veith, and to the man whom he referenced, “Merry Christmas” beats “Happy Christmas” on any given year. The term “Merry” appeared in the Bible to describe a joyful and drunken man. Someone so happy as to have little concern in how he appeared to others. These two bloggers believe we ought to experience merriness upon seeing Christ Jesus.
To me, this seems absurd. Though God doesn’t ban drinking alcohol, He does tell his believers to refrain from becoming intoxicated. For we must always be prepared to spread the gospel, to be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents. In other words, I can see the solid Christian foundation in why Queen Elizabeth II chooses to say “Happy Christmas.”
The online Oxford English Dictionary informally defined “Merry” as slightly and joyously drunk. So, if “Merry” is associated with drunkenness, then the answer seems simple. Since the Bible says to refrain from drunkenness, then say “Happy Christmas.” Keeping those with weak faith on the godly path by disassociating with anything regarding alcohol.
And a “Happy Christmas” to You!
If I come off as prudish, I’m sorry. But the little I have learned about Queen Elizabeth II has taught me to respect her, what she does, and what she says. And since God is the highest and most important authority, then saying “Happy Christmas” seems even better.
Please remember Christ Jesus as Christmas comes closer. And people can be just as happy sober as they are drunk! With the difference lying in people’s ability to act more kindly and agreeably in the sobriety state. Happy Christmas, everyone, and I’ll be back again tonight!