Give Christmas Away.
Voices are ringing this year. They are at every pitch and every personality a voice can have. There are shouts, returned greetings, wishes followed by handshakes or hugs, all delivering the wishes of all the events and occasions that take place in this time at the start of the season of winter.
Some of those voices have also been ringing with the dismay that the greeting of “Merry Christmas” has been replaced with “Happy Holidays.” A small town newspaper editor in the December 8, 2005 edition of his paper related, “We Americans are expected to respect the cultures, traditions, and practices of other nations and peoples, and rightfully so. But what about our culture, and our traditions, and our practices? “
Who are “we?” Are “we” the Native Americans who inhabited this land before our Spanish and Anglo Saxon ancestors came here to explore? Are “we” the African Americans who were deposited here by descendants of “our” Anglo Saxon ancestors? Are “we” any of the immigrants who gazed upon the message held high by the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor?
To feel that “we” are the ones being persecuted by not being made to feel comfortable in saying “Merry Christmas” is missing the entire foundation of the Christmas Holiday. If the observers of Christmas were to be true to the holiday, evergreens in houses would have to disappear (actually, some of “our” Puritan ancestors outlawed Christmas observances in the mid-1800’s in “our” country). The lights on “our” houses, the wrapping paper, the sending of Christmas cards were not part of the origin of Christmas. “We” have added all that.
Maybe saying “Happy Holidays” does diminish the amount of times we get to say the word “Christmas.” Even the word, “Christmas” wasn’t used until several centuries after the event it commemorates. Its use came about from some of “our” ancestors trying to tie in the observance of the birth of Christ to existing festivals and holidays with origins in the Roman Empire. “Our” ancestors actually caused the existing observances of Saturnalia, Yule, and the flight of Oden to be diminished or eliminated by the evolution of the Christmas holiday.
With all the compassion and joy that the Holidays observed in this time frame intend to generate, I will wish the appropriate greeting of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukah,” or “Joyous Kwanza,” when I know what greeting is appropriate. If I am not sure, I will wish “Happy Holidays” with the same compassion and joy. I don’t worry that Christmas will be taken away from me if I don’t say “Merry Christmas.” I don’t think Christmas is mine or “ours” to keep. I think Christmas is to be given away. Maybe it’s time to bring everyone together again.
I think, one day we will get to see the creator of this world. I believe when we see the creator, we will see a form like we never could have imagined. We will ask, “How did you come up with that?” The reply will be, “You could have done the same. I gave you all the ingredients.”
May Peace, Joy, Grace and Love be in your life from now until you meet the creator of this world. Happy Holidays.