By: Dave Illingworth

Close up on child's  hands making Christmas Tree from colored paper.   Kids Art, Art Projects, Handmade New Year decorations

Getting it wrong: VA hospitals forbid Christmas cards for bedridden patients.

Getting it right: “I was sick, and you cared for me.” Matthew 25:36


Fourth grader Gracie Brown of Prosper, TX spent her time making homemade Christmas cards for bedridden patients at the VA hospital in Dallas. Gracie’s card read, “Merry Christmas. Thank you for your service.” It also included an American flag.


But the patients at the VA hospital never saw her cards because they violated VA policy. The VA stated, “In order to be respectful of our veterans’ religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients).”


Gracie’s mother, Andrea Brown, was dumbfounded. “This isn’t the country I grew up in, where you can’t say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘God bless you,’” she told The cards were sent to a private facility for veterans in Louisiana.


It seems like every year at Christmas we get into arguments about saying “Merry Christmas.” There are several other holidays during December, such as the Jewish Hanukkah. When I worked at Toyota’s national office, Toyota hung signage on the headquarter building that simply read “Season’s Greetings.”


It doesn’t seem to me that this needs to be so difficult. If the person is a Christian, say “Merry Christmas;” if Jewish say, “Happy Hanukkah;” and if it’s a business, perhaps just use a non-specific greeting such as “Season’s Greetings.”


Gracie Brown had it right by sending an encouraging message to the bedridden veterans. Maybe the VA could just ask the patient, “Would you like a Christmas card?”


Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Season’s greetings.


“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:11