Holiday Intolerance

happy holidays

My brother once said that once in a while I write about things that are controversial.    This may be one of those times.

I have watched folks get their underwear in a bunch because some people choose to say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas.  I am talking about a tight bunch, maybe even a knot, and they have no problem telling anyone who does not use the phrase Merry Christmas they are wrong, lost, heathen, you pick your word.

Biblical scholars are quite uncertain about the actual date when Christ was born.  I acknowledge that December 25th is the day most, but not all Christian faiths, choose to observe the birth of Christ.     So greeting friends and associates who practice the Christian faith or hold Christian beliefs  with a greeting of Merry Christmas is perfectly correct..    Statistically they say about 70-80% of the US citizens say they are Christian.  So saying Merry Christmas is pretty safe.

On the other hand  nearly 30% of the citizens practice something other than the Christian religion.  I feel blessed that I had the opportunities to meet co-workers and neighbors who were in the 30%.  This life experience has made me a Happy Holiday girl.  I make no apologies.   I wish everyone peace on earth, good health and a happy holiday no matter how they celebrate it.    I have no interest in insulting a person  by suggesting their religion/belief system is wrong and mine is right.   It is to me more than tolerance; it is acceptance.    I have not seen the red phone to God, to let me know which religion is right.   So I seek to understand, find similarities and understand differences.

So the next time you consider telling someone that happy holiday is a wrong greeting, consider this, are you behaving in a Christian fashion?

My Favorite Holiday

Not Christmas but Thanksgiving.   I love Thanksgiving because it is a holiday everyone can embrace.  It has nothing to do with religion or buying gifts.  Rather than separating us by our beliefs or economics,  Thanksgiving allows us all to come together.      It has everything to do with acknowledging good fortunate and  how blessed you are in life.  There is so much to be thankful for, the love of our friends and family, food on our table, shelter from the seasons, a job when so many don’t , our health for so many don’t, our country,  and I could list so much more.   We each have been given so many gifts.   It is one day set aside to encourage us to say Thanks.   That by being a holiday it hopefully forces us to take a time out and include a little reflection on how blessed you are.

I love that Thanksgiving is a secular holiday. I have over the years have celebrated with great joy and reflection with my family, friends and acquaintances of so many different religious persuasions.   We have hosted people in our home of many different faiths: Jewish, Islam, Christians,  Muslim, shamanic believers, agnostic, and no faiths at all, atheists.   In this time of such strife, that we came together in a single home and reflect on our blessings, was in itself a blessing.  We always said grace and everyone at the table contributes with something they are thankful for.   Imagine all of us praying together, not in the name of one religion or another but as humankind.   It  gives me hope that the rest of the world can work toward not fighting in the name of religion.  That is truly something to be thankful for,  the love of humankind.

God Could Have Made Us Alike

This current election cycle is focusing on one of the candidate’s religion.  Is it Christian or not?   It infuriates me, because God is all powerful and could have made us all alike in every way.  Instead God has chosen to make each of us unique.    I am not sure why we have so many organized religions in the world.   I don’t see any leader of the organized religions with a red phone direct to God, Allah or their name for the highest being. It is not for me to understand, I have faith in God’s master plan.  I do know that God has directed us to love our neighbors.  Not, be tolerant of others.  Not, be understanding of others.  Not, accepting of others.   But repeatedly the Bible tells us to  love.

Matthew 22:37-39  Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

What a challenge!  I am not sure, but I suspect other organized religion’s holy documents have a similar sayings.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all sought to love one another.  I know that I do not always  do well  loving others, but the above verse serves to remind me to continue in that quest and we are all neighbors.