Recently a citizen asked, “What became of Christmas?”
She was “saddened to see the appearance on windows and signs that say Happy Holidays or May your Holiday be Happy or whatever.”
I, too, am saddened.
Not for an evolving December celebration that dates back over 4,000 years that first celebrated the birth of the sun, rather than the son, such as Saturnalia and Natalis Invicti, or the virgin birth of the sun god Mithras.
It does not upset me since the Christmas tree, carolers, gift-giving, holly, parades, religious processions, and feasts (just to name a few of our traditions) all can be attributed to pagan rituals that predate Christianity.
Further, I don’t care if you wish me a “Happy Bodhi, Christmas, Fesivus, Hanukkah, Holidays, Id al-Adha, Kwanza, Omisoka, Saturnalia, Shabe-Yalda, Solstice, Soyal, Yule or any other December Holiday you wish to put “happy” or “merry” in front of.
I don’t have to share your beliefs to appreciate your kindness. I am proud to live in the democracy that allows you to say it without fear of prosecution, although there does seem to be some persecution. And far from saddened, I am overjoyed that you are filled with the positive spirit to say it.
What saddens me is poverty, animal cruelty, abuse, war (whether just or unjust), crime (both violent and non-violent), disease, homelessness, orphans, just to name a few. It saddens me so much that years ago I joined a service club so I could try and make a small difference to the suffering that exists in my community and my world.
Sadly, Lions, Kiwanis, Shriners, Rotary and other service organizations are pondering their futures as membership dwindles and average ages grow older. There is simply not enough of us to do everything that needs to be done, although we certainly try very hard.
This deeply saddens me.
So this holiday season (and, yes, I say holiday proudly, as I would say Christmas, or Bodhi, or Hanukkah), celebrate in the way that represents your values, desires, affections and traditions. In the spirit of the season, happily allow others to do the same, even if their way is different than yours.
And, if you wish to give a gift that can become an honourable legacy, please, consider joining a service club. You can make a difference, and you are needed.