As our cultural war over God and Christmas went extra nuts this season, I held steadfast with my annual social greeting of Merry Christmas. I said Merry Christmas to each face that met my eyes. From the day after Thanksgiving until December 26, I extended this warm sentiment to friends, strangers, neighbors, and the casual passerby. Every year when the calendar flips to December the nostalgic feeling of Christmas brings the words Merry Christmas to my lips. Christmas tree lots and the delight of lights, sparkle, cookies, and cheer, elicit a Merry Christmas without thought. This is not something I need to run through my verbal filter or journalist mode for appropriateness before I speak; my intent is clear and concise. I want everyone I love, from family members to strangers alike, to indeed enjoy a Merry Christmas. In America, the winter expression “Merry Christmas” encompasses many things but the thread is joy, love, and freedom. Yes, freedom. When bright red poinsettias start scattering my horizon and cars gather reindeer antlers and a red nose and the scent of fresh pine greets me every time I open my front door, I feel my freedom. I am free to celebrate the spirit of Christmas because I have freedom of speech and separation of church and state.
True, Christmas is a Christian holiday but religion aside, December 25 touches people far and wide with the impenetrable notion of family tradition celebrated through one decade after the next. Christmas reaches deep down to celebrate the renewal of love. Christmas time honors familial customs that create cherished memories bonding families through generational space and time. The sound of silent night echoing in a darkened church amongst a sea of faces in the soft glow from the candles light, will always remind me I am human and not alone. “Merry Christmas” celebrates life and the hope for another year. It is another year for me as a sister, daughter, mother, wife, friend, and neighbor. It is another year as an American where my Christian fore fathers gave me the inherent right in freedom to say Merry Christmas. But “Merry Christmas” is not just about Christ; it is about what we share as human brothers and sisters. Christmas doesn’t see color or creed. Christmas does not see religion. Christmas sees the unity of love.
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