Faces on Faith: Happy Holidays
As a child who grew up in the 1950’s, I recall Bing Crosby singing Irving Berlin’s 1941 song: “Happy Holidays.”
“Happy holiday, happy holidayMay the calendar keep bringing happy holidays to you.”
Yesterday, I was taken aback by a post on Facebook that asked readers to make a stand against what the author called a “War on Christmas” by never saying “Happy Holidays” but only “Merry Christmas,” and to challenge store clerks when they say “Happy Holidays” at the check-out. “I don’t want any clerk saying happy holidays to me . . . I’m sick of all this PC stuffit’s Merry Christmas!” the rant continued.
I’m not one who embraces the notion of there being some kind of “War on Christmas” taking place in America. I do wish many people a “Merry Christmas,” but I also say “Happy Holidays” to my friends who are Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, and of no religious affiliation.
Doing a google search to find out how many holidays take place in the November to December time frame, I learned there are over 20! Perhaps “Happy Holidays” is the easier and more appropriate greeting in this season of the year when Veterans Day, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Las Posada, Saturnalia, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, and several significant days are observed by various constituencies.
On a deeper level, sensitivity towards others is expressed when we do not assume that they celebrate our particular “holy” days or seasons. I believe that all people experience a better merriment when their traditions and practices are honored and respected by others. “Happy Holidays” extends a warm greeting to all the good folks we meet and makes evident our revering each individual’s religious convictions, beliefs, or non-beliefs.
A great strength of our American way of life is our principled affirmation and acceptance of diversity and pluralism. We the people are not on the “same page” religiously, culturally, or politically. I believe that this reality contributes to making for a creative ‘soup’ from which we the people realize blessings of personal and community enrichment and strength.
The dictionary informs us that a holiday is a day of festivity and recreation when day-to-day work is set aside in order for all people to drink deeply from the well of their spiritual or cultural heritage. The word comes from the old English “holy day.” I like the idea of wishing everyone I meet a “holy day.”
So, let each and everyone be blessed by their holy days and may we all make merry whatever our tradition!