This morning, I saw a meme on a friend’s Facebook page that expressed: LIKE if you plan to be politically incorrect by saying “Merry Christmas” this holiday season. My response to her was: “If I know what people celebrate, I will greet them with their preferred sentiment. I have friends of many different faiths who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice and I celebrate right along with them. All of the winter holidays are about calling in the light. To you, I wish a joyfilled to overflowing Christmas.”
I am based in a Philadelphia, PA, USA suburb which is multi-cultural, with folks of various beliefs. There are churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, Quaker meeting houses, as well as groves where those of Earth based religions worship. There are Native American grounds in this area. I regularly attend services at two different interfaith/multi-spiritual communities Circle of Miracles and Pebble Hill Church, and sometimes visit and speak at New Thought churches in the region.
I was raised in the Jewish religion and we celebrated Hanukkah in our home. Lighting the menorah, eating latkes, spinning the dreidel, singing the song that is about that toy, gifts shared with family for eight nights, were part and parcel of holiday time. AND we had many friends who decked the halls, went to Midnight Mass, had train tracks running around their Christmas trees that had presents piled around and sumptuous meals shared with loved ones. We celebrated right along with them as my sister and I were growing up. What I couldn’t quite grasp was how Santa knew to leave presents for two little Jewish girls under their trees. In my teens and as an adult, I attended services with Christian friends and holiday meals in their homes, basking in the warmth of their celebrations.
These days, my holidays include our annual Latke Party to which friends and family come to celebrate in their own way. Laughter, love, light and (potato) latkes are in abundance. I have a table top tree, decorated with lights, angels, faeries, snowflakes and feathers. I display a stone menorah that has seen many a Hanukkah; chipped and a bit worn away. Not ready to replace it, since there is tradition in it. The day after our party this year, is the Winter Solstice and I will join a gathering of friends as I have for likely a decade, who incorporate pagan and Native American traditions. We pray, meditate, sing, drum, write intentions, burn a Yule log, eat food that is infused with love and exchange gifts that have been treasures to us that we pass along to another. I always leave Deva and Stan’s house glowing.
While some might believe that one holiday supersedes the others, since it is more commercially focused, the reality is that all are various ways of honoring the Divine. I have no right to assume what someone’s beliefs might be. There may be fellow planetary dwellers I encounter who have no religious beliefs who are worthy of my respect. If I’m not certain of someone’s spiritual orientation, I will do as I always do to acknowledge them. Smiling, beaming love and wishing that they enjoy their day. This year, I will add that I wish them a light filled holiday.