As it is every year around Christmas time (Winter Solstice), people are back to bickering about "Merry Christmas" VS "Happy Holidays." Christians will say Jesus is the Reason For The Season ... and for them ... they've placed it into their belief system that this is a true statement. And guess what? That's fine. You know why?
People will celebrate Independence Day, while hating our country.
People will celebrate Cinco De Mayo even if they don't even know what it's about ... or whose ritual celebration it is.
People who aren't Catholic will celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Look ... people go out, have dinner, party, drink, get ice cream, for ANY occasion. We don't need a holiday for that. Even the word itself is confusing. If you're European, a Holiday is what we call a Vacation. If you're extremely religious, a Holiday ... means a Holy Day. If you're an ancient Druid Priest, a Holly Day would be a Holy Day ... and you would deck the halls with boughs of it.
Anyway, people will celebrate Thanksgiving who may not even know a lick about the Pilgrims, and Plymouth, and Jamestown, Williamsburg or the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
I could go on and on but I will spare us both and stop right here to make a point. WHO CARES? And if you do ... WHY? Isn't this the "land of the free?" Isn't this the place that was laid out to protect inalienable rights and offer Liberty and Justice FOR ALL?
Seriously ... how 'bout you ask the retailers of America how well they would do if only "Christians" celebrated Christmas? I'm sure they would tell you they would closes half their stores ... maybe more. How about that guy in the parking lot that sets up fireworks every year gearing up for the 4th of July? Ask the bars and restaurants how they would feel if we cancelled St. Patty's Day or Cinco de Mayo because someone might be offended if they don't celebrate those days.
Chanukah? The Jewish folks went and one-upped everybody else and made it eight days. Then we got the 12 days of Christmas. Why don't we have a "Pyramid Day" or a "Love Your Children Day" or a "Feed The Homeless Day?" Bottom line, if you want to celebrate Black And Decker Power Tools Day ... then go right ahead. You should be able to. There's only ONE rule. You can't harm anyone with your own special personal or public Holiday.
What does it matter really? It's just mutual respect, We don't have to have uniformity, to have unity among the human race. Different people have different Holidays and beliefs. Just like they drive different cars. can you imagine Valet parking your vehicle, at the mall ... and when it's time to pick it up the Valet guy says "ok, I have a car here, but there's no make or model. In fact, there's no license plate either. It's just a car. Does it belong to anyone?"
It's the differentness of the Holiday mix and cultural mix and languages, customs, rituals, beliefs, that make up the worldwide variety of the fellow inhabitants of this rock we're sitting on.
I'll end with this. When I was a kid, I would say my prayers and it would take forever. I had to be sure to include everybody. My parents, my dog, friends, schoolmates, teachers, neighbors, etc. I thought ... if I leave somebody out, and something happened to them ... it would be my fault. So you know what I did. I made it simple. "God bless everyone and everything. Amen."
So Happy Whatever, and Merry Whatever. Amen.
Just a thought ...
~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.