“Merry Christmas!” What an odd combination of words to get so much attention. First, I want to begin with a statement that this is not a rant on the Christmas season and how it is being taken out of our society. It is an observation of a complex world where offense is the first reaction and best intentions are misinterpreted.
In my quest for Christmas gifts I was privileged to experience an interaction between a store employee and a customer. Yes, the store will be nameless and the customer, just a very nice lady shopping with her daughter and granddaughter. Feeling the spirit of the season, the customer exclaimed, “Thank you and I hope you have a very merry Christmas!” the employee responded with what appeared to be a very enthusiastic “Thank you and merry Christmas to you!” Now, this seemed to be an over-the-top response to what has become a very traditional saying during the month of December. The customer responded with “I don’t hear merry Christmas from many store employees anymore.” The clerk responded, “That is true, we are instructed that we can only say ‘merry Christmas’ if a customer says it to us first, and that is only if we want to respond that way.”Now, here are my thoughts on the matter. There are so many things that can go wrong in a persons’ life. How many people do you know who have experienced a tragedy or landed on hard times? I have this idea that it would be better to accept a well wish no matter where it came from. For example, a greeting of ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ or well wishes on Ramnavami, the Birthday of Guru Nanak or at Id al-Fitr would all be acceptable to me. So, how can it be that if a group of people who celebrates any one of these events, would pick a total stranger and wish them well and happiness during what they consider one of their most important days as spiritual creatures, be wrong? Holy days, for almost all religions are based on principles that govern their followers’ lives, a moral compass that people choose to follow for the betterment of themselves. Would it be a better world if one were to accept this gesture with humble gratefulness that someone would out of the blue say they wished you well during one of their most inspiring days and they chose you to impart that on? It’s their blessing, their wish for you to be well and happy. I, for one, believe so.
Even if that is not a religion you follow, it is something of value to the giver. If you do not recognize any holy days at all or religion is not part of your belief system, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who did, just let you know they acknowledge you and wished you good things in your life?I think that works. I think mankind should continue to work towards extending well wishes and blessings, but learn to accept them as well. So while me and my family prepare for Christmas, it is my heartfelt desire for our readers, our communities and yes the world, to have peace on earth and goodwill towards men. Merry Christmas!