Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah. These are just days on a calendar. It is the spirit behind them that we should be embracing and celebrating. We all have our own interpretation of what that spirit is or should be.
Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. Having been raised Roman Catholic, I am well versed in the religious aspects of the holiday; however, Christmas for me encompasses much more than religious imagery. It is the spirit of Christmas that I embrace. Not necessarily the spirit of giving of presents; but the giving of kindness and good cheer.
There are the images of the season; in particular, Santa Claus, that remind us of this spirit. Santa embodies the spirit of kindness and goodwill. He sees beyond a person's economic, religious, political and social background. He does not care what your nationality or race is. All he is concerned with is whether you have been naughty or nice.
Okay, so let's be frank here. Everyone has at one point in their life found themselves on the naughty list. Anyone who claims to have never made one mistake in their life should automatically be put on the naughty list just for that lie alone. I honestly believe that Santa takes into consideration the effort we make to learn from our mistakes. Santa Claus is a forgiving soul and always seems to find the goodness in everyone. Although the spirit of Santa Claus is usually associated with children; as adults, we should never lose sight of what his spirit embodies.
Santa, for me, ranks right up there with snowflakes, twinkling lights, reindeer and sleighs as things that remind me of what makes this season so magical. Visiting with family and friends, recapping the year's events over hot cocoa and cookies, can be more rewarding than opening any present found under the tree. Being greeted at the door by a group of Christmas carolers is more satisfying than fighting a mob of people at a store in the mall. Taking a ride through the neighborhood admiring the lights on the houses reflecting off the new fallen snow can be in itself a "religious" experience.
So, let's take a moment to embrace and celebrate the spirit of the season. Let's put religion and political correctness aside and appreciate the various holiday greetings for the spirit in which they are extended. Just as I am not offended by having someone say Happy Hanukkah to me because I have a common Jewish last name; I find it hard to believe that anyone would be offended having the words "Merry Christmas" being directed to them. They are given in the spirit of kindness and goodwill.
In the spirit of the season, I wish each and every one of you a Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus and, of course, Merry Christmas!