I say Happy Holidays because I lived for many years in a community with more diversity than most in Texas. I was raised with exposure to a Christian church and my family acknowledges the birth of Jesus. I believe that his teachings are based in everything I know to be right. I minored in Anthropology as an undergraduate and studied various other religions. They made sense, also. One of my professors was a devout Catholic, and he learned to read several languages to study the teachings of other religions, to try to make sense of ancient writings and balance his spirit with his academics.
Dr. Whalen was my professor's name. He was very kind, wanting to assure his students that religious differences were neither good nor bad, but only different. In many places, religion is an important part of the culture. I never felt compelled to do recruitment or advocate for the religion I was exposed to. I always had a feeling Jesus probably wouldn't recognize some of the trappings that have evolved or most of the things Christians do in his name.
Before I retired, I lived in Galveston, Texas. There is a large medical community there. Doctors and students from all over the world come to study and practice. There is representation of Christians, Muslims, Judiasm and various other religions. This past week, I drove down Broadway and noticed there was a sign on the Mosque that said Merry Christmas. Following Hurricane Ike, the Jewish community invited the Muslims to use a temple for prayers because the mosque was damaged. I am drawn to that behavior, more so than to a person refusing to respect other holiday greetings or ridicule various political or religious preferrences. Maybe it's me, but it just doesn't seem like Jesus would approve. I liked that "What would Jesus do", saying that was popular several years ago. It seemed to be a reminder and is sorely needed.
So on the eve of what is supposed to be the birth of the savior for many, I hope we can all grasp the importance of the teachings, not just the trappings and rote responses. To extend greetings to others, maybe not considered like ourselves, would be exactly what Jesus would do. His actions would be inclusive, not exclusive. Trust me, I'm no Jesus, not even close. I find myself judging more than I should, but I can do this one little thing. Happy Holidays.