Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa … or just happy
With each holiday season, we see the passing of timeless traditions. Regardless of your religion, chances are high that you decide on the traditions you will partake in, and the level you will celebrate. Growing up, some of my most Christian acquaintances rejected the notion of Christmas as most other Jehovah’s Witnesses do. Some of my least religious friends took great pride in the lights they festively decked their homes in, and the presents they also exchanged. This season alone, I have proudly helped a Jewish friend decorate a Colorado blue spruce, and was also informed at a large nationwide craft store that due to Christian affiliation, it refused to stock Menorahs. As sure as Christmas marketing is pushed closer to Halloween each year, the more politicized Christmas has become.Every day a new story of “religious suppression” hits the headlines. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ended up on the many right-wing pundits “naughty list” when he considered changing the Denver holiday display to the multi-purpose “Happy Holidays” from the singular functioned “Merry Christmas.” Denver also received national attention for refusing any religious-based floats in the Parade of Lights – Christmas or otherwise. Rumors have flung over stores refusing to allow employees to say “Merry Christmas,” and of public schools cleansing music programs of religious-based song. With so much noise, it’s time we step back and objectively look at the accusations and implications. The anti-Christmas drumbeat is not the creation of modern-day liberals.While many will try to paint Christmas as indicative of “family values” and contradictory to the values of the left, the message is a metaphor that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many liberals love Christmas. A majority have Christmas trees, share gifts and many even go to church. This is not a left versus right battle line. The problem is not the issue of Christmas, it is an issue of pundits rousing people where no real political canyons exists. The second issue that arises is from confused people like myself who can’t tell by looking who is Christian, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish or otherwise. The conundrum is complicated when we add “Happy Thanksgiving” and “Happy New Year” to the likes of “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah,” and “Happy Kwanzaa.” Trying to wish people the proper “season’s greeting” then becomes unduly complicated, and we resort to “happy holidays.” With this greeting my intentions can be decoded by the recipient who knows what holidays they celebrate, and no ill-intents are meant to anyone. It could even be the bustle of the holiday season that makes me abbreviate “have a very Merry Christmas and a splendid New Year” to “happy holidays” in my effort to multi-task my holiday shopping. Whatever the case, no one who says “happy holidays” means any harm to Christians.While many attempt to point political fingers, one fact remains: whatever your political or religious affiliation December is not a political time of year. Americans get that out of their blood in November.Every religion and nearly ever unreligious person simply wants to enjoy the season. No one is looking to annihilate Christmas from the calendar, and no one should be looking to use the joy of their respective holiday as a muzzle for any religious minority. It is not the spirit of the season, or the goodwill that season mandates. And with that I wish a happy holiday to the left, the right, the Christians, the Muslims, the Jews, and everyone else who has some reason to have joy in their hearts and goodwill for your fellow man. For those not celebrating any holiday I wish you a great day!
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