Not too many years ago, I had a job making deliveries for a small printing company. I remember one Christmas season when I was required to bring a good deal of last minute holiday greeting card orders to several businesses in the area. Christmas time was near, and I found myself voicing many greetings and wishes of the season, mostly in the form of, "Have a good holiday" or "Have a nice holiday." Often others would beat me to it, wishing me the same, or a "Merry Christmas", greetings which I enthusiastically returned in kind. These were nice, crisp, early winter days, and I was feeling the Christmas spirit, and the cheer of the season. I could not help but to share these feelings with those I met at their places of business, and with those I passed by on the street.
As Christmas day drew nearer, I found myself voicing similar greetings to most of the people that I encountered while going about my business. Again, my greetings were mostly of form of "Have a nice holiday." I received various replies like "Same to you", and many a "Merry Christmas." Sometimes I just received a smile and a nod, and that is just as good. But there were times when I would receive a more stern "Merry Christmas" as a reply, which seemed to me, less of greeting and more of a admonishment or a correction, as if that was the only thing that I should have been saying. This was also true if I said something other than "Merry Christmas" to someone, when there were those who I knew shared the same faith as me, also present. Most, of course, did not have a problem with it, but there were those few who did not seem to appreciate the way in which I voiced my greetings. It appeared to me that my motivations were suspect. that maybe I was trying to be politically correct.
How often, if ever, do you wish others something other than Merry Christmas this time of year? Feel free to leave a comment at the end of the article.
It was not, of course, my intention to be politically correct or anything else, when I wished someone a happy holiday, it was my intention to give a sincere blessing, for I was feeling the Christmas spirit, feeling the peace and joy of the season, and my choice of words were those that I felt appropriate at the time. I spoke them with enthusiasm and cheer, because that is what the Christmas spirit is about, and I felt that I was using just the right words for this wonderful time of the year.
I was sometimes surprised that when a less positive wish of "Merry Christmas" was directed at me, that I did not feel offended in any way. I just returned the wish and continued through my day.
I always try to use the right words when I address others, but the feeling behind these words are equally important. I may want to wish someone a good holiday, a good holy day, a merry Christmas and happy new year, or just a plain good old day. And it did not require too much thought, because I trusted that if my feelings were sincere, so too would be my words.
Simple greetings when heartfelt can make a difference in someone's day, adding a little cheer to it, brightening it a bit, and again I trusted that the enthusiasm I felt would be felt by others and they in turn would pass it along, just as my enthusiasm was increased whenever someone had a kind word for me. This exchange of greetings is nothing short of an exchange of blessings. And being of the same faith is not a requirement for these things to work. We salute each other, whether in a word, a smile, a wave of the hand, or a nod of the head. And this exchange of blessings sometimes seems to slow things down a notch during this busy time of the year, bringing a little peace to the moment, bringing all a little closer together, helping us all feel that good old holiday spirit.
There may be times when I, as well as others who share my beliefs, may feel restricted in the way we express our own religious sentiments, speaking certain phrases, or displaying certain things in public places. As a result, we may find ourselves saying "Merry Christmas" with a bit of an edge to it, and advising others that it is the only appropriate greeting of the season. And while it is still a blessing, it is less so, as it diminishes some of those good feelings that have come our way, and the flow of those feelings that we wish to share with others.. It is very difficult to be mean spirited while we are seeking good cheer and joy. We have the right to assert our religious freedoms, but not, I think, at the cost of forgetting what it is all about.
The Christ child is born because God so loves the world. Let us share the love.
I believe that it is better to say "Happy Holidays" with a smiling heart than to say "Merry Christmas" with a frowning one.
During the holiday season, I often find myself enjoying some things that are unique to this time of year. A great deal of Christmas music being listened to, and carols being sung. There are also many heartwarming holiday films being viewed. And there seems to be a recurring message in these things. Could it have anything to do with the wish of attaining a little peace on earth?
So I say Merry Christmas, not as a statement, but as a heart felt wish, And I continue to keep in mind the freedoms and religious sentiments of others. It is not about trying not to offend anyone; it is about sharing the good will, and perhaps even increasing it a bit in this world where it often seems to be hard to find.
This is the season in which we celebrate the coming of the savior, the birth of the Christ child, the one who forgives and heals, the one who tells us to forgive others and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving our neighbors is having a healthy respect for their beliefs and accepting their blessings.
We often say things like, "peace on earth" and "good will to all" during this time of year, but peace on earth is not something that happens by itself. It is something that needs to be practiced. It begins in the way we behave toward ourselves and our loved ones, and it proceeds in the ways we treat our neighbors. Peace begins with us, then works its way outward; it works its way forward.. It continues with kind and caring thoughts and actions. We respect the beliefs and customs of others; they are deserving of our blessings, as we are deserving of theirs; we accept any blessings directed our way. A little patience and kindness with relatives, neighbors, coworkers, and anyone else including ourselves, can go a long way toward this end, this end being a beginning, a beginning, perhaps, of a more peaceable world.
We celebrate Christmas by giving. We give gifts and we give thanks. Many of us may celebrate in some traditional ways which are aside from, and yet still complement, our religious beliefs. We light candles, decorate Christmas trees, and display colorful lights. We celebrate the birth of the Christ child, keeping Christ in Christmas with our nativity displays, and our Merry Christmas blessings. And then we rejoice, keeping Christ in Christmas, keeping Christ in our hearts.
And when we remember to respect the sentiments of others, we add a little more peace to the world, which brings us closer to the Christ child.
Christmastime comes but once a year, but every day is Christ's day.
And so I say to you, Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings, and I wish you a very Merry, Blessed Christmas.
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© 2012 Paul K Francis