Religion, like politics, is something I don’t generally get into with people. Too many opinions and too often disagreements follow and frankly, it isn’t worth arguing about either.
But with the holidays of Hanukkah, Ashura, Bodhi Day, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice and Christmas all happening in the month of December, I’ve decided to share a few thoughts.
I am a Christian (Catholic to be precise if it matters to anyone) and so Christmas is a very special holy day to me. I appreciate that it is a national holiday which means even all the non-Christians get a day off from work. I hope all the non-Christians appreciate it too. And I think most do.
But it is obvious to me that some people are “offended” by Christmas. They don’t like the trees or the Nativity or the school concerts. They don’t like the music and God forbid you say “Merry Christmas” to someone instead of “Happy Holidays” and you’re likely to get a spontaneous rant about the fact that “Christmas isn’t really when Jesus was born” and “what kind of idiot believes in God” and “how dare you wish me that”! Some are so “offended” that they feel they have to ruin the fun for everyone else.
I really don’t understand this. While I choose to practice my Christianity, I would never think of forcing someone else to practice it. I don’t even feel it is my right to tell anyone else how to practice their own Christianity. And I am not offended by any displays for any of the aforementioned holidays. I say live and let live.
Fortunately, the people who are close to me don’t seem to have a problem with Christmas either. The nice Hindu man that manages the gas station where we go, always wishes us Merry Christmas. The other men who work there are also quick with a Merry Christmas even though they are all Muslim and they appreciate it when I often greet them with “Asalamu alaykum”. Our Jewish friends always call to wish us Merry Christmas. And we wish them Happy Hanukkah. We go every year to PalisadesPark to watch the sun set through the winter solstice statue that is there along with the Druids and Pagans. They seem to think it quite remarkable that a couple of Catholics are there to witness the event. But they certainly don’t seem offended by it.
One of the most meaningful ways we celebrate Easter is to share a Passover Seder with some of our Jewish friends. No one is offended because we as Catholics are sharing one of their most religious days. Nor are they offended when we talk about the significance that it represents The Last Supper to us.
I know I have friends with whom I don’t always agree. But that doesn’t change how I feel about them. As a Catholic, I believe that one of the reasons Jesus came to this earth was to teach tolerance. And that is something I hope we can all agree on – no matter what our beliefs.
So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Namaste, May the Force Be With You and Live Long and Prosper….oh, and have a nice day :)