The holidays are upon us, and this is a true story.
After a fantastic visit up north with my mom and her husband on Thanksgiving, the following Monday morning the wife and I were back home - fast asleep when the clock radio went off. It literally clicked on and immediately blared out in song "It's the most, wonderful time, of the year!"
I had to chuckle, but it also struck me - why is the holiday season always fraught with a hefty thread of anxiety for most of us?
One big reason these days, in the information age, is that it's no longer just Christmas. It's all the other holidays as well. And people for some reason seem to be really bent about this.
Christians and Christmas fans are severely irritated that they can't say "Merry Christmas" to every single person they run into.
Everyone else, let's face it, still feels excluded from the holidays. Hanukkah and the other celebrations of the season are even in this day and age, a distant second to the bad ass known as Jesus, and his wing-man Santa Claus. It can be pretty off-putting. I actually had someone at my poker game last night say "Yeah, the holidays are great, if you're Christian! Not so much for the rest of us!"
I say, both "sides" need to just relax.
Christmas boosters especially should chill. Though it may seem at times that the whole world has gone secular, Christmas - and the religion that goes with it, are still number one. By a LOT. Especially in America - Christmas is the Elvis, the Beatles, the Madonna (so to speak) of holidays. It's not going anywhere.
Really, Christianity is by far the biggest faith in our country. The majority of folks, even those who don't go to church (yes, that would be me) have thrown in their lot with the holly and the mistletoe.
In light of what Jesus actually preached - the whole "do unto others", "turn the other cheek" , "love thy enemy" shpeal - I'd say, we need to remember what Christmas is actually about. Hope and brotherhood - not exclusion and fear.
If I don't know someone's faith - I say "Happy Holidays". If I do know, I say Merry Christmas or whatever is appropriate. It's really not that hard, and frankly not that big of a deal. I could care less which category someone fits into - the true spirit of Christmas applies across the board.
As for those who are not down with the jolly fat man, it's best to recognize that Christmas isn't going anywhere anytime soon. And if someone does get all up in your grill with a big and loud "Merry Christmas!", it's not worth getting twisted over. It's better to take the spirit behind the message - which is really universal.
Merry Christmas also means God Bless You which also means Happy Hanukkah which also means Peace and Joy which also means Happy Festivus.
It really is, all the same. The method of delivery is merely semantics, and not worth fretting about.
Really, Tiny Tim said it best - "God bless us, every one."