Do you sometimes feel like you are going through a growth spurt?
I don’t mean physical growth like when you were a kid and your bones hurt from growing.
I mean a mental/emotional/understanding/awareness growth spurt?
I do not know why, but this holiday season I feel I am gaining clarity on so many things!
I asked a question on Facebook the other day to my Jewish friends about Christmas cards. Yes, I know that Hanukkah is the appropriate holiday for Jews, but my question, which I had never thought of before, was: If *I* celebrate Christmas and I am sending Christmas cards (because that is the holiday I celebrate) is it rude to send them to my Jewish friends? Is it considered rude? Should I go out and buy Hanukkah cards?
There was mixed response. Some people felt it was okay, as long as it was sent in the spirit of love and inclusion.
Others felt that while it wouldn’t perhaps necessarily *offend*, it may be received with eye rolling for wishing someone to have a Merry holiday they don’t celebrate.
I’m still on the fence about it, actually, but I feel like even asking the question or having the thought process creates growth and promotes understanding.
Personally, I can understand it both ways. I feel like if I am celebrating Christmas and I send out Christmas cards the MESSAGE I am sending is not necessarily about the specific holiday. To ME the cards represent a feeling of love and caring that I want to extend to the person receiving it. I am sending the card to tell that person that I love and care about them and that they hold a special place in my life.
If I were to receive a Happy Hanukkah card from a friend, I would be appreciative of them thinking of me and of including me in their celebration. I would be honored to know that they cared about me enough to include me in their holiday wishes, no matter what holiday that might be, including Festivus, Ramadan, Kwanzaa or any other holiday of which I am not aware.
I think this is part of what I find so interesting about people (particularly here in the US) beating the drum that they are going to say MERRY CHRISTMAS, damnit! And if *you* don’t say Merry Christmas then you are some kind of jerk.
I have been out and about the past few days and when people have said Merry Christmas to me I have noticed that it is coming across in one of two ways.
One: it is said with some measure of defiance! Merry Christmas GrRRRR….!! Like they are just waiting to pounce should the person respond with something other than complete thankfulness at being wished Merry Christmas.
Two: it is said with some measure of weariness. Uhmmm MerryChristmas. Quietly, quickly. These people are afraid that they, too, will be pounced on for uttering the wrong words.
Are people really missing out on the point of the HOLIDAY season…??
The holidays, of which in the US Christmas is the one celebrated by the majority of people (not right or wrong, just current fact), are a time where we are supposed to remember that we are to love one another, be kind, be gentle, be grateful, and be accepting.
What difference does it make if the store clerk wishes you Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Happy Kwanzaa? The appropriate response is “Thank you!” The store clerk certainly doesn’t know if you are Jewish or Christian or Atheist just by looking at you. The INTENT of the message is not to offend or be bigoted, it is simply to pass on a blessing for happiness.
Another area of growth I have noticed is regarding religious beliefs in general. I am not what one would call religious. I have my belief system, but I do not participate in organized religion.
You know what? This belief of mine does not make it impossible for me to support and appreciate and congratulate those around me who DO participate in organized religion. I do not need to ignore Hanukkah because I am not Jewish. I do not need to ignore the excitement of a friend who has been baptized for one year today. This was obviously a big moment in her life. She is understandably excited to share. And I am happy for her!
Simply because her beliefs and my beliefs, or her level of participation and my level of participation are different, doesn’t mean I cannot share in her happiness, and support it even. My support of her in no way diminishes my OWN beliefs or happiness.
I am in the midst of a growth spurt of clarity and enlightenment. It is amazing and freeing. I do not need to resent or ignore or have any negative feelings towards those who celebrate or pray in a different way than I do. I only need to maintain my faith and be respectful of theirs.
So, with that said….Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Ramadan! Happy Kwanzaa! And Happy Holidays! to each and every one of the people who come and read this blog. I appreciate you being here and I look forward to continuing to share my life with you.