Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wow, I have been a bad blogger lately!

Things are winding down for the semester here at Pacific. Students are furiously working to get their final papers and assignments done and they're studying like they haven't all semester before final exams next week. So, things are pretty quiet in my neighborhood - apart from a few holiday parties.

I've been thinking a lot about how we celebrate the holidays as a community. We worked really hard this year to make our Festival of Lights celebration more inclusive, and to make the decorations in the university center more resonant for everyone - not just those who celebrate Christmas.

There's always some backlash to this. People who say things like, "most of us DO celebrate Christmas." Or, "that's just political correctness." I always find this surprising, especially when it comes from people who I know really do care about other people, regardless of their religious or cultural background. And this is nothing compared to the ridiculous boycotting of companies that dare to recognize that not all people are Christians, or the TV drama about "attacks on Christmas!" As if! The attack is that materialism has taken over the holiday, not that it threatens to take over others, too.

Saying "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" and putting a menorah in the window as well as a Christmas tree (or instead of!) aren't about being "PC." They're about respecting the dignity of every human being, which is something that Episcopalians promise to do every time we baptize a child or renew our own baptismal vows. Respecting other people is something that people of all faiths ought to be able to get behind. As a Christian, I can say that Christians CERTAINLY ought to be able to get behind it!

In the spirit of Christmas, let's us Christians not try to shove our religion down other people's throats. Let's trust that the creator of the universe is at work, and that we are better participants in that work when we are examples of love and hospitality, not hostility. Let's honor those who celebrate Hanukkah, Yule, and Kwanzaa, and those who have already celebrate Eid and Diwali this year.

If you're a Christian and you want to share your holiday traditions with others, invite them to your home to share your holiday meal and celebration, or to Christmas worship. (You will be going to worship, right?! I mean, if you're one of those who is all worked up about "Merry Christmas" you better be putting your money where your mouth is and showing up for church on Christmas eve or Christmas morning!)

If the Gap can 'get it' surely the rest of us can too! For them it's good business. For the rest of us, it's Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward ALL people.

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