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SHALLOTTE—Three years ago Alan Hughes got fed up with hearing people say “Happy Holidays” so he made it his mission to spread a message—put Christ back in Christmas.
“When something really gets to me, I’m going to do something about it. That’s how I am wired,” Hughes said. “We Christians are being pushed around so much by our society. We can’t display a Nativity scene or a Christmas tree in public places during the Christmas season. The rest of the year we hear, ‘take that cross down.’ The big one that gets a lot of us Christians mad is no opening prayer at high school football games.
“Politicians use the trump card of saying they are a Christian and that they go to church, but they have allowed a few people/organizations to erode the fabric that America was founded on—Christianity. Our elected leaders have allowed themselves to be bullied by a few people.”
Hughes’ sign says: “Yes, Happy Holidays—But First Put CHRIST in CHRIST-MAS – Celebrate the Birth of CHRIST!”
Several days a week during December, Hughes stands in front Belk in Shallotte and shares his message.
He gets a variety of responses—everything from a thumbs-up and “right on” to “so true,” “good” and “that’s my feeling, too.”
“A lot of people read the sign as they continue walking into the store and comment quickly as they walk. Others pause and share more thoughts,” Hughes said. “I would say 90 percent are positive. There are always a few 5-10 percent that snub you, shake their head and say a few things.”
Hughes lets few people pass without pointing out the sign.
“When I see people who are walking in without reading the sign, I say, ‘What do you think of the message?’” he said.
During the past three years Hughes has been asked to move away from the front of the store, but he pointed out it is only about one in 100 people who have made complaints. Most people appreciate the message.
“I enjoy doing it. I know I am putting a smile on God’s face and heart,” Hughes said.
When someone says “Happy Holidays” to Hughes he says, “You have a holy and blessed Christmas and New Year.”
When someone likes his sign, he says, “God bless and Merry Christmas.”
Rachel Johnson is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.