Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays debate

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~ SIGH~

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It’s the silly season and I bet, like me, all of you have have been inundated with negative sentiments on social media, in person, or in the mail.

People keep complaining about what religion is best, who is being excluded, and how what I’m feeling is either stupid, unrealistic, or just plain bad. I keep seeing how we are being brainwashed by religion, media, politicians, and the Internet for one reason or another.

It just seems so sad to me. The purpose of the holiday celebrations during winter is to add some joy in the blackness of winter when this feeling is scarce. This is true regardless of which religion you adhere to. In fact, you will find that there was a celebration (some of them solemn and some of them anything but) in just about every religion during this time of the year.

Yet, this reason seems to have gotten lost in the glitz and glamour of gift giving and the battles over what the season is supposed to mean.

Christianity has been under attack by those who want to eliminate religion from the festive events of the holidays, saying that we shouldn’t exclude anyone. This is kind of ironic considering that one of the largest religious sects on this planet today is still Christianity and currently the major holiday festivities are surrounding Christmas.

This is a holiday for Christians. It is the right of every Christian to celebrate and I do not want to remove any of the warmth or sentiment from the practice by quarreling over “who” has the right to celebrate it.

It never ceases to amuse me that all the best Christmas carols and cartoons were not written by Christians. For some reason other religions all want to participate in at least some of the practices and events of Christmas.

This doesn’t mean that Christianity is the only acceptable religion or that Jesus was actually born on December 25. We have figured out from the stories told and history that he was more likely born in April and that it was a clever pope who selected the winter solstice celebrated by Pagans to celebrate the birth of Christ. Therefore, naming December 25 Christmas (the day to celebrate Christ’s birth) was very clever indeed.

Why was this clever? Because, in the bitter winter months we need something to look forward to; to celebrate rather than hibernate.

This pope never heard of the phrase seasonal affective disorder and he did not have statistics to prove that suicide and depression increase during this time of year. He just knew that, like Pagans, his “flock” needed something to celebrate and why not let it be the birth of the key figure in his religion. CLEVER.

So Christmastime was born and while Christians have not cornered the market on this time of year –there is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and Winter Solstice celebrations– Christmas sets the tone.

So give it credit and do not hold it against Christians that we celebrate Christmas during this time of year.

Instead of trying to remove Christ (or religion) from the celebrations, why not ask yourself why it is that this is one of the most beloved holidays for Christians and non-Christians alike.

Why?

It fills a need.

The need to be part of something more than ourselves; and

It gives us a reason.

It is the reason to be kind and generous to our fellow neighbors, friends and family without having to justify it.

It gives us a legal holiday to enjoy peace and take some much needed down time to get a little silly and laugh at ourselves for a couple of days each year.

Why would anyone be against this?

It revitalizes the soul. So even if you are non-religious, agnostic, or a full-blown atheist ask yourself what is the best gift you can give your fellow neighbors during one of the bleakest times of the year?

Do we really need more “things”? or is it something as simple as a warm smile, a friendly hand, and the kindness that comes from simply giving your acceptance of who we are and that we matter. All this can be summed up in my gift to you.

My gift to all of you this Christmas is a wish:

I wish you understanding, non-judgment, kindness and love. I wish you forgiveness. I wish you a peace that fills your soul and lets you believe in miracles once more.

I wish this to all of you, whether you believe in Christ or not.

Every time you hear Merry Christmas you are hearing my wish for you.

And for those who care to give one to me, you can wrap it in any moniker you wish: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Feliz Noel, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, or simply ~ Peace.

I will be touched by the sentiment in each sincere wish, for I know that you understand the true meaning of the season.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Thanksgiving 2014

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I am thankful for the letter “F”

I’m sitting watching skaters dance on Frog Pond this crisp fall day, remembering the days when my own childish laughter echoed through the bright days.

Closing my eyes I’m transported back to the past when the smells of leaves, apples and spices filled the air and the promise of snow was something exciting. I would sit under the dining room table next to the burning fire from the stove watching TV specials while mom turned out a banquet of treats both savory and sweet, in the three days leading up to thanksgiving.

The day itself could be summed up by the letter F:
Fun, Food, Friends, Family and Football.

Those memories have given me strength over this last year, which has been one of the most difficult in my adult life. It has made me look at this upcoming holiday season with a bittersweet anticipation. There is so much more difficulty ahead of my family, yet there is hope. Hope that sits in my soul that we can get back some of that laughter and excitement.

Reflecting on all that has transpired this year, I find that thanksgiving for me still equates to “F”. For every trial or opportunity that I have encountered it has been friends and family that have shown me support and the courage to go forward.

Every time I have wanted to retreat into my shell and stay there, a silver lining would surface allowing me to fight for the future.

For those of you who either participated or bore witness to this time, I have so much to thank you for:

Mary, you are so young and have a lot more learning to do, but on Barbie’s birthday you showed a clear headed calmness that was much needed.

To my family, thank you for rallying to my support when needed.

Billy I truly believe that the amputations will be a blessing in disguise for you, giving you more mobility, better health and a reason to fight for the future.

Mom and Dee spending time away from you has provided me with a clarity I wouldn’t have had, it has committed me to change with no going back.

To my friends, despite not being around much the few times I’ve reached out you have been there for me when I needed it. I’m not good at asking for help or sharing, but I’m learning and I am so very grateful to you.

To my new friends, welcome into my chaos. You are a true light shining in my weary world.

To the children in my life you keep me young and remind me of laughter on frosty fall days.

May all of you know the love and support I have had in this past year without the turmoil that precipitated it.

And may 2015 represent a new F… Living Fierce.

Happy Thanksgiving