The holidays are here. Our next door neighbors have added several more items to the inflatable Christmas menagerie that populates their lawn from the day after Thanksgiving until the day after the New Year. This year, they have added tacky inflatable Nativity scene. During the day, deflated Mary and Joseph and Wise men lie crumpled on the ground around the manger. Seems a bit sacrilegious to me. Then again, a block away, Frosty the Snowman has joined the Wise Men at the manger while Santa and his reindeer fly over head. My Mom would not have approved. Luxury car companies have been playing their get-a-car-for-Christmas commercials for weeks, as always, oblivious to the fact that some people who are watching are lucky if they can afford underwear. Best Buy, always good for an add campaign contrary to the spirit of the holidays this year challenges us to Win the Holidays. I didn’t know it was a contest. Last week a columnist on Fox News accused president Obama of thinking Christmas was about caring for little trees because he waxed nostalgic about the 50th anniversary of the Peanuts Christmas shows. Why is it that so often those who insist on the rest of us remembering the true reason for the season show so little of the Goodwill Toward Men the holiday is supposed to bring? In an increasingly adversarial society, shouldn’t we just be happy to receive a holiday greeting instead of worrying about whether it’s Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
You’re right. I’m not a Christian but I was and I have a Reverence for the holiday. This morning, there is a menorah on the kitchen counter with the shamus and a candle for the first night of Hanukkah waiting for sunset to be lighted. I am not Jewish either, although I have followed along in the machzor for years and my wife, Muri, and I have celebrated 50 Hanukkahs together. I have Reverence for Hanukkah, too. Reverence. In a world where there are people who will kill innocents because they don’t follow the word of God as they hear it, shouldn’t reverence be part of the holiday spirit? Reverence for what others believe and how they choose to celebrate the holidays. Reverence for each other as human beings and for this beautiful world we inhabit. Yeah, I know. It’s a lot to ask but, hey, let’s try it for the holidays. If we don’t like it we can go back to being miserable when they are over. I’m going to do my part today by going to the storage bin to get our holiday decorations. That usually sends my Inner Curmudgeon back to the basement … and I think my Holiday Spirit is in a box with my favorite ornament, too.