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Friday, December 31, 2010

Sharing the Season

When the winter holiday season rolls around each year, with it come the complaints about taking Christ out of Christmas, and sneering at the use of the phrase "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas."  Some rigid Christians believe this season is strictly for Christians to celebrate.

What is ignored is the fact that this time of year was observed as a special season long before the Year One, and by those who lived far away from Palestine.  Christians adopted the time as fitting to commemorate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, in order to re-order the purpose of this particular season by building upon a familiar practice which preceded that time.  Nothing in our Christian scriptures designates a particular season for that birth.  We cannot pinpoint the exact time of Jesus' birth.  Instead, we used a season observed by those who welcomed the Winter Solstice.  In time, those in far northern territories, whose people had also greeted the return of the sun's light to those dark winter places, were included in the merger of celebrations.  We now have "Yuletide" events, the Yule logs in our fireplaces, and other symbols of light, which have been borrowed from those early times and other beliefs.  We are not diminished by observances of seasons different from those of Christians, even when they fall within similar calendars. 

Thus there is no reason we cannot share this Christmas Yuletide Season with others who are not Christians.  We have borrowed a sacred time from the dark histories of others in order to experience the coming of a New Light into the world, one whom Christians recognize as Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior, and many other designations.  The commercialization of the seasonal holidays cannot take away the significance of this time for those who follow the Christ.  Let those who choose the greeting of Happy Holidays do so without judgment from us.  We are not harmed nor do we lose anything by such a practice.  This time of year is observed by Christians, pagans, atheists, and those of other faiths for various reasons. And to all, we can greet each one of our neighbors appropriately.  Merry Christmas -- Happy Holidays -- Joyous New Year!

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