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COMMENTARY: Christmas and the cultural wars

Christmas used to be this magical time of the year. You know, the time when the whole “good will to men” kicked in and people actually went out of their way to be kind and forgiving and generous and loving to all people.

That time of year when we were a little kinder, a little gentler and a little more understanding of one another.

Now – we get messages like this: “It’s MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holidays.” [See image above right.]

If one knows anything about the beginnings of the United States – one knows that the people who first left England and landed on our shores did so to escape a certain religion which they were being forced to follow.

They left everything and sailed to a new land in search of a space where they could follow the God of their choice – worship wherever they chose – and not be persecuted, ridiculed, bullied or killed for living what they believed.

Ours is not a Christian nation. Ours is a nation filled with millions of people who believe thousands of different things and pray to thousands of different gods. We all draw strength from different beliefs, different dogma’s, different traditions.

Why can’t we just let people be who they are? Why must certain factions of people make everything out to be an “us” against “them” sort of thing?

Live a life which brings you peace and love and joy. Try and do no harm to others, and help when and where you can. Do these things because it’s the right thing to do – not because some God or prophet or document or politician tells you that in order to get to their version of heaven you must do these things. Just do it because this is what we do for one another.

Every single American is guaranteed the freedom of religion. You are free to worship whoever and wherever you choose. And if you chose not to entertain any sort of religious beliefs – you have the freedom to do so.

If you are not a Christian and someone of the Christian faith wishes you a “Merry Christmas” – don’t be angry - be respectful and acknowledge that this is what they believe. You don’t have to be belligerent and unkind – just let them be.

It’s not “us” against “them.” It’s each one of us trying to get through the days and nights of our lives the best way we can. It’s each of us believing what we must to get from birth to death in a way that is enriching and respectful. It’s each of us finding a way to make sense of tragedy and coping with loss and rejection and pain.

Just let them be – and:

Be kind - be kind – be kind.

SDGLN Contributor Barb Hamp Weicksel was born in 1952 in Pennsylvania and moved to California in the early 1980s, where she met her partner Susan. They've been together some 30 years and share the love of Susan's four children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her blog, Barb's Gift of Gab, can be found HERE.