Hollywood, MD – If you spend any time on social media during the months of November and December you understand in addition to all the other divisive stuff, this time of year seems to generate much anger. It’s hard to believe that wishing someone “happy holidays” could cause so much hostility but apparently, many people who consider themselves “Christian” take offense to it.
I realize that there have been attempts to explain it before, often to no avail. This week I thought I would try it.
First, a popular Yuletide song goes, “remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day.” It does not say, “was born on Dec. 25.” Likely, Jesus’ birth occurred below the Equator and since the weather was probably cold, it could have happened during the time when the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing summer. Christmas ended up in December, likely, because the month is so very dark and cold in the Northern Hemisphere. People get depressed in days of limited daylight and as a remedy for the despair, the custom of illuminating the homes and villages during the month became popular. Celebrating the birth of our Savior as a way of giving hope in a time of darkness seemed like a great idea.
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, is observed during December for that same reason. In the late 20th century many African nations began the observance known as Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community, and culture. Many African-Americans observe Kwanzaa and Christmas at the same time. Among the rites during Kwanzaa is the lighting of candles. Kwanzaa’s observance begins Dec. 26 and runs through Jan.1. This year Hanukkah will be observed between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1.
With all these converging observances, wishing someone “happy holidays” doesn’t seem very egregious unless you are some sort of anal retentive who thinks everyone ought to only adhere to your culture and religion. It’s not that kind of world. You might as well pound sand—or snow—if you are upset that things are never going to go your way on this one.
I am sure we will hear all kinds of stories this year about the nasty public school administrators who won’t let children sing Christmas carols, grocery store workers who claim they got fired for saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays” to customers and mean-old municipal authorities who won’t allow Nativity displays in front of government buildings. It just wouldn’t be Christmas in America without a few “bah, humbug” stories. But those stories are anomalies. The “Santa Claus” and “Magi” stories beat them in volume every year! The point is, anybody who extends a friendly greeting should be acknowledged. They don’t deserve to be the object of scorn.
Let’s make America BRIGHT again in every way! This holiday season, we hope everyone will see the light at last!
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Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com