This time of year is for good cheer, peace and compassion between all people. There is enough hate and anger in the world without people becoming offended by a simple holiday greeting.
In this over sensitive world many are looking for the correct greeting for a politically correct environment. Many have started a campaign to put “Christ” back into Christmas. Extending their religious preference over all others and becoming offended when someone doesn’t greet them in the manner they are accustomed.
What these religious folk seem to forget is that this time of the year comprises many holidays. It’s not only Christmas that is being celebrated. It’s also the Pagan Yule, which begins at sunset on the Winter Solstice (for 2012 that’s December 21st) and ends at sunset on January 1st. It’s also Hanukkah,which starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev, and lasts for eight days. This year Hanukkah begins in the evening of December 8, 2012, and ends in the evening of December 16, 2012. Kwanzaa begins December 26, 2012, and ends January 1, 2013.
Additionally, many non-religious people observe some form of winter celebration. Either because they grew up with it and like the family gathering and companionship. Or because they want to recognize some form of gift giving for their young children.
And don’t forget New Years Eve and Day. That holiday is one that is celebrated globally and many include in their holiday greetings. So Happy Holidays can often refer to not only a religious celebration, but also the secular New Year as well.
You don’t have to become angry or irritated by people who are not sensitive to the celebrations of others. That’s a set of baggage they carry on their own.You don’t need to pick it up too. So return the greeting that is given to you with grace and appreciation. It’s meant to be a kind salutation, a wish for you and your family. Whither or not you celebrate their holiday or not; we all can use some kindness in our lives today.
When someone wishes me a Merry Christmas I don’t get upset or tell them I don’t celebrate their holiday. I simply respond “And A Merry Yuletide to you as well”. Now on occasion that comment will get a puzzled look, some will ask what’s that and others will simply smile and go on with their business. For those that ask, I have no problem in sharing the concept that Pagans too have a holiday celebration during this time of year and we call it Yule or better yet, the 12 Days of Yule. Depending on the response of the person, I may leave it at that. If they become belligerent I might smile and say “It’s what YOUR Christmas is based on” and walk away. It may give them something to think about for next time. It may not, but again, that’s their problem and I don’t need to extend their ignorance or hate for others.
If you’re not comfortable with exposing your spiritual beliefs, don’t allow others to push you into reciting a greeting you aren’t comfortable with. You have as much right to your views and opinions as they do. Return their kindness with a salutation that you feel comfortable with and that fits your view. Whither that’s Merry Yule, Happy Holidays, Merry Solstice or whatever you want to say. Allow the feeling of peace and unity to spread on through you and let it grow in strength and compassion.
If you’re atheist and don’t celebrate any type of holiday, you don’t have to disrespect those who do and who offer you a kind wish for blessings or happiness. Simply respond with Happy New Year and leave it at that. Or perhaps a simple Thank you will suffice.
What we put out to others will be returned to us. Whither it’s a shared sense of joy, happy wishes for peace and celebration; or a narrow disrespectful view that spread angst and hate. How you express or don’t express your holiday spirit will have an effect on your day to day life. Make the effect a positive one and show respect for all others, even if they don’t agree with your view of this season. Respect doesn’t rest on the shoulders of the righteous, but rather in the heart of compassion.
So Merry Yule to one and all. I hope your chosen holiday is a bright one filled with joy, peace and abundance through all the days to come.
© 2012 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.