To certain ears, then, “Happy Christmas” conveys a sober, well-earned enjoyment, the satisfaction resulting from hard work and virtuous living.
On the other hand:
“Merry Christmas” stirs in us an impulse more primitive and unrestrained: The childlike giddiness of Christmas morning, the rush down the stairs and tearing at paper, the intemperate delight in gifts long hoped-for and wholly undeserved.
Which phrase conveys a more fitting response to the overwhelming, unearned, gift of Christ’s birth? Suffice it to say that when our Lord comes I hope I do not greet him with dignified reserve but instead rush at him with the unguarded, unembarrassed joy of a child at play or man at his cups. Merry Christmas to all!