Holiday season about joy, compassion

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas season is finally upon us. Or is it the holiday season? America is incredibly diverse, and appealing to everyone is tough. 

The name of the “holiday” or “Christmas” season we are in has become a topic of concern when it really should not be. This season is about spreading joy and cheer, not about making sure everyone who gets a cup of coffee at Starbucks is not offended.

At most stores and restaurants are festive decorations, and while looking at them I see a trend. Each year it seems more and more that the season now marketed is referred to as “holiday season” instead of “Christmas.” This is done in order to include more people, because the percentage of Americans who identify themselves as Christian is dropping and therefore the term “Christmas” cannot appeal to everyone.

Is saying “Merry Christmas” offensive to those who are not Christians? The answer to anything that is offensive is look at the intent. Happiness and joy are prevalent emotions this time of year, and what someone wishes me is meant to further those emotions, not evoke negative ones. 

Folks like me love Christmas because it is a great time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, and reflect on how I live my life and a reminder to be charitable, courteous and loving. So when I say “Merry Christmas, ” it is not intended to offend anyone, rather it is a way to express joy and compassion.

As a Christian, it is imperative for me to reflect the light of Christ to all those who I come in contact with, and therefore I cannot conform to the “Happy Holidays” that are becoming more prominent. However, I would not be offended either if someone who was Jewish told me “Happy Hanukkah.” This season should be about much more than what we call it.

Remember where Christmas came from. It was not always a time to buy, give and get gifts. It is not about Santa, reindeer or caroling. Christmas came about to celebrate the birth of Christ when Rome became converted to Christianity. Kwanzaa is also a celebrated holiday this time of year, along with Hanukkah and Boxing Day, among many others. Despite the rich Christian heritage of the United States of America, no one holiday is greater than the other.

I do not take offense when I hear or see something other than “Merry Christmas.” “Happy holidays” is not intended to offend me, it just gives non-Christians a reason to celebrate and commemorate this season. It is incredibly important to remember and respect the intent behind the words and celebrations this time of year.

Whatever ever our religion or belief, I think we all can agree that whatever this season is called, it is about giving. Offense should not be intended or taken regarding the name of this special time of year. Remember the reason for the season.