It is that time of year. Where has the year gone? It feels like only yesterday I was sitting at my computer writing a Christmas blog. Here it is again. As I said a few weeks ago, I have the Christmas spirit. Still not sure what that means other than that I am looking forward to spending time with friends and family. I have already survived two family gatherings. Awesome. Now further rest and relaxation and food. Not going anywhere, just looking forward to kids coming home.
Over the course of the last number of years all things surrounding the traditional Christmas have been pushed aside. What I mean is this. For years many of us have been making an effort to be politically correct. I hear of schools canceling Christmas programs because it might offend people who are not of the Christian faith. We put up “holiday trees”. I recall many years ago when someone first wished me a ``happy holiday`` rather than the traditional ``Merry Christmas``. I found that rather odd. Did not understand. And then I did. I thought, okay, it offends people when I wish them a Merry Christmas. So I decided to change. Go with the flow. I could do that. So I did.
A couple of weeks ago a colleague and I visited the flood recovery office to get a better handle on the stress these workers were experiencing. As we walked out the door I turned back towards the staff and wished them a Merry Christmas. Thought nothing of it till my colleague suggested that I had not been politically correct. Of course, I responded with my usual gruff self, suggesting that I could wish people whatever I wanted to. But it got me thinking. It created confusion. It left me with mixed feelings. I want to now respond to that issue. Note I said respond, not answer. My thought being that when I respond I leave the door open for further dialogue. Hear me out.
December 25 is Christmas day. It matters not what one believes, the calendar marks the 25th as Christmas day. No different than Remembrance day, Canada day, Hanukah, or Eid. We celebrate Labor Day weekends, Thanksgiving, and Boxing day. I was in Japan, a number of years ago, just before Christmas. All the stores had put up Christmas decorations. I asked our host about this. He told me that, although Japanese people do not consider themselves “Christian”, they do celebrate the Christmas season. It’s a time for family. It’s a time for giving. And for me that is the essence of Christmas. Taking time with family and friends. Taking time to reflect. Taking time to give.
There is another point I would like to make. When I wish someone a Merry Christmas I am in no way, shape or form pushing my beliefs in their face. I would like it if people would wish me a Happy Hanukah, wish me a Blessed Eid (not sure that is the correct greeting that Muslims would use), or any other greeting that signifies that person’s traditions or beliefs. It would give me a better world view. It would help me better understand others. It would give me a greater respect for the beliefs of others. And quite honestly, if someone chooses to wish me Happy Holidays, so be it, unless they are doing so only to be politically correct. Because in that case it has a very hollow ring to it.
So there you have it. My wish for you is that you have a Merry Christmas. May this time fill you with renewed love. May it fill you with contentment. May you have the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle and appreciate all we have. Make it a good one.