Happy Holidays! I really have never liked that phrase. I’m a Merry Christmas kind of guy. Happy Holidays sounds so generic. I have told many people not to say that to me. Say Merry Christmas or keep it to yourself.

But on the other hand, Christmas is a Happy Holiday. It’s Merry. It’s the season to be jolly. It’s joy to the world, the Lord has come.

All of this leads me to the point of this article. It is a good thing that holidays are happy things. I think they were designed that way. We are right smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. It couldn’t come at a better time because we are in the middle of the cold dead wintertime. These holidays could not have been crafted better for a better time.

In the middle of the cold, cold winter we begin by being thankful and saying, “Happy Thanksgiving!” Then we eat. And then we watch football. Family. Food. Football. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Well, yes it does. The next holiday is what we should be the most thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving is only the first chapter in this trilogy of happy holiday book. Next comes Merry Christmas. Happy. Marry. You begin to get the idea. Tis the season to be jolly. The Savior is born. Hallelujah! “Joy to the World.” We are most thankful for this greatest gift of all from the greatest most generous Donor of all.

And more food, family and festivities. And gifts and giving and gladness. And I for one like eggnog and fruitcake.

Then last but not least we have another happy holiday. Happy New Year! Opportunity to start over. Time to begin again. And that’s a happy time. Resolutions are made. Dreams and hopes come alive as we look toward the future. Oh, and more football!

In all of this, we get off work, out of school and gather with family and friends to joyfully celebrate life. God is good.

So we begin with Thanksgiving. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.” Then we turn to what we are the most thankful for – the Son of God coming in human flesh to die for our sins and rise from the dead, giving forgiveness and eternal life to all who will give their lives to Him.

With the Savior in our lives and hearts we turn to the Happy New Year with hope. Hope for change. Hope for a better year. Nothing is too difficult for God and nothing is impossible for those who believe. It’s going to be a good year.

And then before you know it – Valentine’s Day! Love provides a fitting conclusion to the book of winter holidays. Love is real and life is good.

So I want to wish everybody who reads this a Happy Holidays. MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR. And always be THANKFUL. Thankful for Jesus, and your family and everything good that God ahs brought into your life.

Do you see how all these holidays tie together? We are thankful for Jesus who was born at Christmas to give us a new start in life.

My first night in the impoverished third world country of Nepal I was awakened early in the morning with the orphans in the home who lived in the basement of the orphanage where I was to live, with the song, “Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One, Give thanks…” As those words came to me from the children I instantly thought, “What in the world do these poor children have to be thankful for?” Then the next phrase in that song came up from the children, “because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.” They had the best thing in the world to be thankful for – the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So let us be thankful and rejoice. And let us celebration our Happy New Year.

Terry Simpson is pastor, Grace Church in Clinton 

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