Words matter.  What does it say about a person who refuses to say the words “Merry Christmas”.  Last year, I entered a Starbucks and told the person behind the counter “Merry Christmas” and he responded “Right back at you.”

I was taken aback but then took this as a challenge.  Returning the next day, I once again said “Merry Christmas”.  They responded “Thanks. You too.”  The next time was “Thank you.”  Then simply just a smile and nod.  Finally, after the fifth time my persistence paid off.  A middle-age women responded with “Merry Christmas to you too.”

Over the next six months, she served my family with exemplary customer service.  She would have our order already rang up as soon as we got to the counter, showed us pictures of her family, and told us about how they were doing in school. Sadly, her marriage ended in divorce and she moved back home to Chicago.

The words “Merry Christmas” mattered a great deal to that person and they should matter to you as well.  The following are the reasons leaders should be proactively saying those two wonderful words.

  1. Leaders Properly Evaluate Reality – Regardless of your religious beliefs, December 25th is Christmas day.  To deny the obvious reduces your intellectual standing.
  2. Leaders Are Dealers Of Hope – Christmas is a time of hope, possibilities, and new beginnings.  The words “Merry Christmas” remind people of a brighter today and tomorrow.
  3. Leaders Are Generous – “Merry Christmas” tells others that you want the best for their lives.
  4. Leadership Is Sustained By Character – Being a follower of Jesus Christ is my fundamental identity.  Whether popular or not, leaders must stay true to their convictions if they wish to have lasting influence. 
  5. Leaders Leave A Legacy – I want to leave a lasting impression and demonstrate to my daughter what the Christian life looks like, especially during the holidays.  There is no success without succession.
  6. Leadership Takes Courage – It took courage to keep going back to Starbuck’s and spreading goodwill to those there. 
  7. Leadership Finds Solutions – I was not going to take “No” for an answer.  Someone was going to say “Merry Christmas” back to me.  Leaders find a way.
  8. Leaders Build Bridges – The words “Merry Christmas” created an opportunity to connect relationally with a hurting person who needed friends. 
  9. Leaders See A Bigger Picture – Christmas is not about me or my opinions.  It is about Jesus.
  10. Great Leaders Sacrifice For The Good Of Others – It was that same Jesus who loved us enough to give up all the blessings of heaven and come to Earth as a little baby.  That little baby would then one day grow up and die for our sins.  That is what makes Christmas Merry.

I love saying “Merry Christmas”.  Those words mean something deep to our core as people.  Therefore I wish Starbuck’s a “Merry Christmas!”  I wish Target a “Merry Christmas!”  I wish Michaels a “Merry Christmas!”  I wish Wal-Mart a “Merry Christmas!”

And I wish each and every one of you a very, Merry Christmas! And don’t forget, right back at you.

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