Comforting Words: No Offense but Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No Offense but Merry Christmas Everyone!

Her bus arrives around 9:00 p.m. and the visit will be fairly short but that changes nothing. My baby girl will be home for Christmas, for a couple days, and that is all that matters.

The arguments continue again this year – whether we should say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." It is a debate that has been raging for years, increasing as we become more politically correct and culturally diverse. It is a debate that I usually ignore but this year it has been a bit more difficult to tune out the raised voices.

When my daughter gets off that bus my greeting to her will most certainly be "Merry Christmas." While I am not a religious fanatic as those of us who continue to use this greeting is sometimes made out to be in my mind it is clear why we celebrate this season. 

I came across this very interesting quote recently from Marian Wright Elderman:

"My faith has been the driving thing of my life. I think it is important that people who are perceived as liberals not be afraid of talking about moral and community values."

In my 44 years life has taken me along some very winding roads. There were days when it was not clear whether I would go over a cliff or a new alley would open up. For many of those years it was the teachings, 'preachings' and life lessons of my mother , adopted aunts, and community elders that pulled me along.

It was only in my 35th year after entering the Universal Centre for Truth for Better Living in Kingston, Jamaica that I understood that the solutions, the hope; the Light was always in me. And as I came to believe this Light re-entered the world through the life, message and teachings of Jesus.

Christmas took on a different meaning to me soon after learning this Truth. I did not make any public declarations but I knew that, just as I honoured the birth of others who I respect, the birth of Jesus was more than a time to rack up my credit card debt.

My shopping for gifts and new bathroom decorations had not changed but the reason for doing these things did. I was no longer merely doing what everyone else was but expressing my deep appreciation for life, blessings, and the people who had journeyed with me. Christmas became a time for family, including those with whom the relationship was rocky. All hurts were put aside including those that were inflicted in the midst of the season, as we came to the table. And as corny as this might sound, like the Three Wise Men, I went the distance to give to people unknown to me.

Life has changed plenty since 1997, new roads and highways have opened up and the view has been incredibly painful at points and majestic in other places. What has not changed, however, is my belief that the Christ in me and in my fellow sojourners will see us through. My faith is definitely not blind – neither to the irony within the spiritual texts and teachers and even contradictions of the Church.

It is that faith, however, like Elderman's that reminds me that with the freedom that I enjoy come a responsibility to serve those around me. How that service looks might change depending on the circumstance of my life but one thing that never will is my ability to speak out on behalf of those who have been silenced. What has also not changed is not appreciating attempts to shut down those who hold a different view, belief, and way of life in the effort to be politically correct, liberal-minded and/or conservative.

So this Christmas as my family and I exchange gifts and enjoy the new decorations throughout the house, we will celebrate the birth of Jesus who, in my belief, reminds us that the Light is within each and every one of us. We will celebrate his birth, respectful of others beliefs but we will not put our Light under the proverbial bushel to make others comfortable in their own skins.

Merry Christmas to you my dear friends and readers!




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