There will be those - there always are, who will utter this greeting with a question mark in their voices. What's to be merry about? A slowed down economy? Bullying, homophobia, racism, and prejudice still rearing their ugly heads? Pedestrian traffic fatalities? Horrific weather conditions? There certainly is a lot of bad news! For me personally (yes, I know, this is NOT about me) it will be my first Christmas since Mom died this past spring and one might expect it would therefore be a little less merry.
Old Scrooge in the wonderful Dickens classic was one of those who used to question the joy of Christmas. "Humbug!" That's how he summed it all up. Scrooge found out though, and just in time, that there is always reason to be happy - there is always something to be joyful about!
I am reminded of the words preached by Saint Leo the Great way back in the fifth century:
"Today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness."
May we carry that message with us with no question mark at all. Merry Christmas everyone!