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11/29/09

Happy Holy Days

December is host to many multi-cultural celebrations including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Winter Solstice and Boxing Day. Some are sacred and some are secular. Few months have more teachable moments of love, joy, peace and good will to all men.

December is renowned for shopping and baking and decorating and giving and partying and feasting and traveling and entertaining and stressing. Am I ready for Christmas? Yes, I am. Oh, there is still baking and decorating and other chores to do, but I suggest being ready is more an attitude than an activity.

It is the attitude of living within your means rather than over-spending. It is the attitude of caring for self and others without over-extension. It is the attitude of patience with the harried clerk at the store. It is giving a smile, and refusing to gripe and complain. It is the attitude of graciousness to stressed fellow travelers. It is the attitude of compassion for those with opposing beliefs. It is the attitude of thankfulness for our many freedoms, including worshiping as we choose. It is the attitude of appreciation for the men and women near and far that willingly put themselves in harms way for our protection as well as to bring liberty to the oppressed.

Even with all the hustle and bustle, I love the holidays. Although I like to give and to receive “Merry Christmas” greetings, I am not offended by being wished “Happy Holidays”. It is a quick way of encouraging another to remember that the long celebration season is filled with holy days.

In liturgical Christian churches, the holy days begin with Advent four weeks before December 25th and ends with the Epiphany, January 6th. This period is for reflection upon the true meaning of the season; a time to prepare our homes with lights and streamers and to entertain family and friends and to give gifts, and to ready our hearts to receive afresh a baby that has already been born, with twelve days afterwards to rejoice in the love gift given to mankind.

I believe in Christmas. I believe in the Christ of Christmas. Maybe as one makes every day “holy” during the extended holiday season, he will be better able to keep focus on peace on earth, good will to all men.

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