Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25th

Over the years I had become more and more uncomfortable with saying "Merry Christmas" to people.  You never know if people will get offended because they don't celebrate Christmas or because I don't use a neutral phrase such as "Happy Holidays" and also because I didn't want people to make assumptions that I was celebrating as a Christian or that using that phrase meant I believe in a Catholic God.
Working with the public, it's always interesting to see how people react depending on what you say to them.  You get the people who after hearing Happy Holidays reply same to you and keep it moving, or the people who feel the need to boastfully express Merry Christmas! with the attached sentiment of screw all of this PC bullshit, I'm saying Merry Christmas whether you like it or not, which I find amusing during what is supposed to be a time of cheer. 

While reading the latest news articles I came across this article from CNN: Holidays, Minus God.  As someone who was raised Catholic, who doesn't believe in that version of God but does believe in some greater power of the universe, it was comforting to find others, agnostics and atheists, explaining how they explain their celebration of Christmas.  A few quotes that really stood out to me are:

"I prefer to celebrate by teaching my kids the wonders of nature; how to pay attention to the earth's cycles, to enjoy the smell of fresh rain and the sight of a forest covered in snow. To me, these are things that are tangible and real, but just as beautiful and humbling as faith is to believers." — Shannon Thomas, Illinois

"Holiday celebration does not require belief in order to feel love for one another. I can wish someone a merry Christmas, and it's just my way of injecting positive energy into that person's day." — John Douglass,Washington

"We exchange gifts, have elaborate meals, and spend time with our family and friends, many of whom are believers and know we are not. Sharing, giving, and loving are traits of humanity -- not divinity." — David Lilley,Texas
So whether it's Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, during such difficult economic times, why not spend time with the people you love, have a delicious meal (and not obsess about what I'm eating), spent quality time together, exchange gifts that have some thought behind it, shop locally, support the economy of where we live, buy from artists or make something for someone, and find gratitude for life in general.

In these technologically connected times, we all seem to need to work a little harder to actually be connected with one another. This is the time of year to reflect on the year past, to spend time with people who matter, and look ahead to the year to come. Faith and hope are not things of religion, they are beliefs. During this hour, while the house is full of smells of the next course cooking, the presents have been unwrapped, friends and family members called, I find some quiet time to write this piece before watching one of the many regular Christmas movies: Elf!  because some humor always helps no matter what time of year!

How do you celebrate Christmas/the holidays? Do you have movies you watch regularly to celebrate? What are they? What is your favorite tradition? Comments below or email me

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