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COLUMN: Merry Everything

The following is a column from Kathy Nolan Deschenes. To submit your own column, e-mail the editor at [email protected]

I received one of those Christmas-with-a-capital-C emails today. First one of the season. I had actually forgotten all about the issue till the email arrived. And then I said, “Oh, yeah. This again.”

Untitled-1You know what emails I am referring to. The ones that get in your face and tell you that you are not honoring Christmas if you wish someone Happy Holidays. That this season is the Christmas season and anyone who can’t buy into that (regardless of your religious heritage, or lack thereof) should just pack up and move to Iran. Because that’s where all of you Christmas-haters belong.

The local newspaper will start publishing letters to the editor from the Christmas-with-a-capital-C folks real soon, too. There will be no escaping it. Some of these folks have written in the past to say that they refuse to shop at stores whose employees say “Happy Holidays” and not “Merry Christmas” as they ring up your purchase. That’ll show ’em.

I wonder about where the writers heads are at. It all reminds me of the same-sex marriage naysayers. That if someone else shares in something you have, that it somehow lessens it for you. Does Christmas mean less to people who celebrate it when it is also celebrated with other religious holidays? I don’t think so. My Christmas has never been ruined because my friends and neighbors celebrate Hannukah. Anymore than my marriage has been ruined when my gay friends married.

I don’t consider myself to be a Christian, even though I was raised in a Christian faith. By that I mean, I’m not a true Christian. One that believes that Jesus is the savior and God is watching us. My definition of God is not the same as devout Christians. I believe Jesus was a great man and a great prophet – probably the greatest. Being Christian to me (in the true sense of the word) is to be like Christ.

My understanding of Jesus is that he was inclusive. That all that matters is how you live your life and treat your fellow humans. He didn’t segregate or discriminate. He said everyone is welcome in God’s kingdom. When he said “everyone”, I took him literally.

My guess is that Jesus would not be happy with these emails and letters to the editor. Where is the harm in wishing someone of a different faith a happy holiday? How is being kind to and accepting of good people a bad thing? How does this take something away from the true meaning of Christmas?

Seems to me that it reinforces the meaning of Christmas, as opposed to detracting from it.