In just a couple of days, we will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate what is unquestionably one of the most beautiful holidays of the year. Though it's a Christian celebration in honour of the birth of Jesus Christ, the spirit of goodwill, peace and joy is a message that transcends cultures, religions and generations.
We offer our heartfelt greetings for the season to all we meet, ignorant and uncaring of their backgrounds and their differences. We give to those less fortunate, smile at strangers and open our hearts to extend kindness and generosity to all.
Certainly the mad whirl of Christmas preparations – the shopping, wrapping, baking, etc. – along with the parties to attend, can have us forgetting the important message and sentiment behind the day. But generally, we do a pretty good job of shaking off the stress and spreading the love.
Which makes me sad when I think of the petty controversy surrounding the day. Given the ethnic diversity of our societies today there are many who would see the words "Merry Christmas" removed from conversation. The other side then argues that they aren't asking people from other cultures to do the same. Whether Hanukkah or Eid Al-Fitr no one is pressing for an all-inclusive greeting for those holidays.
Personally, I do think it's very wrong to ask people to stop saying Merry Christmas. I have many non-Christian friends who aren't offended in the least when I say it, any more than I'm upset if I'm wished a Happy Hanukkah.
Nor am I offended, however, by anyone who does prefer one of the generic holiday messages. As long as there are Christians there will be Christmas. And, no matter how we extend a greeting, Christmas is the celebration, one full of so many true and beautiful things, that I can't help thinking it's more important to live the message than worry about how we extend it. I would say shame on anyone offended by hearing Merry Christmas. Yet, I'd be equally disappointed by someone whining because they were wished Season's Greetings.
As Mr. Peale so eloquently stated this is the time of year when there is magic in the world. Let's focus on that.
And since Christmas is the season, since it is a Christian holiday and it's important to them, since at this time of year that should matter to all of us, I am taking this opportunity to extend a very Merry Christmas to everyone. For those of like mind, here is the perfect collection of clipart for the holidays:
Merry Christmas Greetings from iCLIPART.com