In the early days of Christianity, one could lose their life by professing faith in the resurrection of Christ. The first believers would often greet each other in one of two secret codes. A half fish would be drawn in the sand and if the person facing you believed that Jesus' tomb was empty he or she would draw the other half of the fish. This is where the Ichthys symbol originated. There were also times shortly after the resurrection when members of the early church would greet someone by saying "He is risen" and if the reply was "He is risen indeed," they knew that person also believed.

Today there is controversy regarding which seasons greeting is appropriate. Reports from the Chicago Tribue and the L.A. Times relayed many of the facts used in this article.

Separation of church and state is often confusing during Christmas

The month of December also brings a lot of controversy regarding the appropriate public greeting during the holiday season. Some christians, in recent years, have accused the secular world, along with retailers, of trying to take Christ out of Christmas by saying "Happy Holidays" or using the abbreviation, "Xmas." This is a time of year where the separation of church and state can be confusing because Christmas is a worldwide celebration. People who do not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior still take part in the non-religious aspects of the season.

President Trump has said that the nation was going back to saying "Merry Christmas" this year, but even the POTUS cannot force anyone to use a specific phrase. A number of well-meaning Christians were taught that December 25 is the birth date of Christ and the day should be all about Him. History, however, tells us that this day was chosen during the 17th century to focus on Jesus and get the pagan's minds off of the Winer Solstice.

Trying to stop people from saying "Happy holidays" is taking away their free will to choose.

Modern Christians should follow the example of early believers

The first believers in Christ had the right idea of simply trying to identify those who held the same views regarding the resurrection.Today it seems that Christians often behave as if their decision to follow Jesus should be forced on everyone.

December is a month of many holidays, including Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanza, so greeting someone by saying "Happy Holidays" is simply that, acknowledging the holiday season. Contrary to popular belief, saying "Xmas" is not Xing Jesus out of his birthday. Jewish history suggests he was born in late summer or early fall and the X is actually the Greek letter for the name Christ.

America is the land of the free so we should allow people the freedom to say "Merry Christmas" if they so choose. There does not have to be controversy related to whether or not you say "Merry Xmas," "Happy holidays," or "Seasons greetings." Christians should not chastise those who do not celebrate the religious reason for this festive time of year.

Neither should nonbelievers attempt to do away with acknowledgments of the birth of Christ. Perhaps believers should get back to identifying each other by drawing the fish or if one says, "He is risen," to reply with "He is risen indeed."