Friday, December 11, 2009

Goodwill to all

I am in the middle of writing the few Christmas cards I’m sending out this year. I have two stacks of cards left over from years past, one red with an ornament motif and one white with a snow scene. Neither of them says “Merry Christmas,” so as I’m signing my name and wishing my loved ones joy this season, a big part of me is wondering how many recipients will be offended by my “secular” cards.

The War on Christmas.
The War on the War on Christmas.

This is the one and only thing that I dread about this time of year.

Mostly, I love this time of year. To me, the week of Thanksgiving through January 1 (or 2, or 6) is all special. I don’t think of Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s Day being isolated, separate holidays. I see it as a whole holiday season, where first, we are thankful, then we celebrate the birth of Christ, then we welcome the new year, all the while surrounding ourselves with people we love and memories we can cherish. We decorate our homes and offices with beautiful ornaments and lights. The weather turns cold, so we run inside to share cocoa and bake cookies. The spirit of giving helps us remember the poor like no other time of year. It's beautiful.

But there are also the stickers, buttons, and petitions that circulate this time of year, the ones complaining that there isn't enough (or too much) Jesus in our celebrations. We hear accounts of people fighting and suing over the placement of a nativity, or a Menorah, or a "holiday" tree. And it absolutely wears me out. How sad, that we bypass the joy of this season to fight over how we celebrate it.

I saw a Facebook group the other day called, "I say 'Merry CHRISTmas' not 'Happy Holidays.'"

I say "happy holidays" sometimes. Not because I don't love Jesus, or because I want to secularize Christmas, or because I am a mindless, empty-headed liberal afraid of offending anyone. I say "happy holidays" because, to me, there isn't just one holiday. I find myself in the midst of a season of celebrations, and I'd like to wish joy upon my fellow man.

I believe that Jesus' joy and peace came to all people, and I find it a terrible state of affairs that we can't accept one another's holiday greetings for the warm wishes behind them rather than the political-religious statements they make.

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