I avoid arguments in this blog much like I avoid that “Rithmetic’” in its title – not an easy thing during this election season. However, I have an issue that I feel I must address. I ask that you follow me to the end before you decide to abandon the blog and cancel the friendship.
Yet another disparaging post about the “political correctness” of the greeting “Happy Holidays” brought this on. Let me make it clear that I love Christmas. My tree goes up the Saturday after Thanksgiving and comes down while I watch New Year’s bowl games. I carol and sing in the Christmas choir presentation, watch all the old Christmas movies, and take in celebrations with any family members I can round up. You’ll see my annual blog on a favorite Christmas on December 23. I post it every year on my blogging date closest to Christmas.
However, I am rich in friends who celebrate different holidays. I look forward to following these friends’ family celebration pictures on Facebook each year. I googled other winter holidays and found six in the National Geographic Kids site and another seven in a different site. It seems we love holidays for the winter solstice and try to brighten up this dreary time of year with light as a recurring theme.
My Baptist roots run deep, beginning in infancy and continuing to this day as you can see by how often my Facebook tags come from the University Baptist Church site. But I am a Roger Williams kind of Baptist. In case you missed that day in history class (there was probably only one), he established the colony of Rhode Island with the new and dangerous idea that church and state should be separate and that all people should be allowed to worship as they feel led or not at all.
All this to say my wishing of “Happy Holidays” has nothing to do with being politically correct. It has more to do with a command from the one that Charles Dickens called the Founder of the Feast. One of the most lasting and memorable statements Jesus made in the Sermon on the Mount was, “Just as you want people to treat you, treat them the same way.” The same idea, in slightly different words, can be found in many religions.
An example of this behavior on my Christmas tree came from a Muslim friend. She went home to Palestine to visit her family and brought me a gift – a set of Christmas ornaments, beautifully carved from olive wood. Friendship, not political correctness, motivated her to bring something that would enhance my Christmas that she did not celebrate.
I’ll return your “Merry Christmas!” if that is your greeting to me since I hope we both have one. But I may start with “Happy Holidays.” I like its efficiency since it reaches all varieties of winter celebrations and all the time through New Year’s – and on through Mardi Gras in South Mississippi and Louisiana.
Now if you decide to abandon the blog and cancel the friendship, you may, but I hope whatever you are celebrating is joyful all the same.