Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Reason for The Season

Every year it seems the debate over "Merry Christmas" seems to grow and grow. Do we say Merry Christmas to everyone? Should Merry Christmas be written or said in various situations. Doesn't Happy Holidays make so much more sense? After all not everyone celebrates Christmas. .... and so on and so forth.

When I used to send many Christmas cards I made a point of having a "Merry Christmas" one for some; a religious one for others, like an angel, or baby Jesus, or the Wise Men; and a generic Happy Holidays for those who were Jewish or didn't celebrate Christmas for whatever reason. Ridiculous you say. I agree, now. Merry Christmas was always my favorite; the religious card I felt was a good reminder of the reason for the season; and the Holiday card made me feel better, somehow. Again, silly and ridiculous.

The point I want to make is, Happy Hannuka is fine with me. I don't celebrate that holiday, but I am aware of it and have no problem with children being taught about Hannukah in school. The same goes for Kwanza. But everyone except the most religious Christians seem to have a problem with children being taught about Christmas. Let's put snowmen around the school walls and so forth and call it a day. Let's not.

Town Squares may have a Christmas tree and a Mennorah and Kwanza candles now-a-days. However, put out a creche and watch the rumble. Seriously? This offends you? You're ridiculous. I am the biggest believer in separation of Church and State but reminding folks that this is a religious holiday for some does not offend me in the slightest.

There are all kinds of reasons to revel in the saying of Merry Christmas. There are very few, and mostly narrow minded reasons to ban it.

Growing  up in suburban New York City, none of this was an issue; but then slowly things changed. Also growing up where I did and raising my family there, I have always been surrounded by people of all faiths and races. Do you go out of your way to say Merry Christmas to a co-worker who you know full well does not celebrate the holiday? No. If that person happened to be Jewish a Happy Hannuka works during that time. Matter of fact some of the best Christmas decorations could be found in the homes and offices of my Jewish co-workers and friends. Any excuse would do:  an inter faith marriage being only one of those.

You see, the reason for this season is not just the birth of Christ, or commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire, nor the honoring of the African American culture; and not the annual observance of Ramadan. The real reason for the season in love. 

So I wish all of you a very Happy, Merry, and Holy!