Cultures around the world celebrate holidays in the fall and winter, and for many good reasons. Some celebrate a new year and the approaching return of the sunlight, some celebrate Christ’s birth and resurrection, some celebrate peace and the restoration of the Jerusalem temple. Even in Persia, the holiday Sadeh celebrates the light, fire and energy that comes from God and resides in his creatures.
In the last decade or so, another tradition has arisen, and it is irrelevant and potentially harmful. It’s the idea of the “War on Christmas” propagated by some in the right wing media. They consider rephrasing the idea to “Happy Holidays” to be offensive.
Those who claim that this war is occurring forget a few important things: the U.S. Supreme Court still permits religious terms in the naming of holidays; Christians make up 75 percent of the American population according to the U.S. Census Bureau; and, the term “holiday” includes Christmas.
Christianity and its influence on our culture aren’t going anywhere. Instead of starting fights, Christians and non-Christians alike would be better off respecting one another and employing the patience and kindness they preach.
Their “opponents,” real or imagined, should also remember that hearing the word “Christmas” is not an attack, but a well wishing. Furthermore, those words do support freedom of religion, which is important even if you choose no religion.
Furthermore, forgetting the religious and traditional backgrounds of the menagerie of winter holidays can lead to an undue focus on gifts and irresponsible consumption. Happiness, while not free, is not dependent on the possession of objects.
The dark, cold winter is an excellent time to celebrate. It is a time to be indoors with family and friends, cozy and contented. It’s a time of reflection and tradition, things we all need to have happy lives.
Our society is becoming more cosmopolitan, both within Davis County and beyond, and we should allow all people to enjoy their holy days as they see fit.
As a community, that should mean that all of the phrases, “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hannukah” and “Happy Solstice” should be welcomed. If they don’t celebrate your religion, respect that they make other people feel happy and valued. Remember that keeping beliefs alive is something that happens within your hearts, not on the lips of strangers, the banners of any shop or the lawn of any city hall.
Let us all celebrate together. Whether our bells are jingling, our choirs singing praises to a new King or our kin gathered around a menorah, we are more alike than we are different.
To enjoy a South Davis-flavored celebration, join us for the Clipper’s 2012 Christmas Electric Light Parades.
The Bountiful’s Main Street event will be Nov. 30,with Santa waiting at the finish line.The Kaysville version will take place on its Main Street between the Davis Applied Technology Center and the Kaysville Elementary School, on Nov. 26.
Both events start at 6 p.m. and still have openings for floats and performing groups. Contact us at 801-295-2251 extension 117 for details.