Merry Christmas, of course

Our publisher was stopped last week in town and quizzed if we would be wishing people a Happy Holiday, or offering up our traditional Merry Christmas this year.

People can be curious.

In recent years, many of our country’s institutions, whether it be government bodies or big business, seem to have lost their way on calling it Christmas – prompting the question of what we might call it in the Newspaper this year. Merry Christmas it is!

For Christians, this season is about celebrating the birth of the King of all Kings, born without the trappings of luxury, since Jesus was simply swaddled and laid in a manger. From his immaculate conception to a harrowing journey by his parents looking for shelter, it’s a very good story offering hope and peace for all.

While many Canadians share those beliefs there are many who do not. Some do not believe and others share different values or a different religion. Regardless, we think it is equally important to both recognize and respect the many other cultures that call Canada home. But such respect for others does not have to come at the cost of Christian beliefs.

It is perfectly okay to say Happy Hanukkah to a Jew, or wish Muslims well as they honour and sacrifice during their Eid festivals. Surely other groups, whether Hindu, Bhuddist, Baha’i, Sikhs or other religious orders have special times, too, that can be respected as their customs. If we can truly respect others and be happy for their belief systems, there really is no need to walk away from saying the traditional Merry Christmas to fellow Canadians.

There is little doubt that Christmas has become more commercialized, and the custom of giving gifts seems to have become its focus. While the Christian element of Christmas might not be shared by all, gift giving and holidays surround this time of year.

Most impressive though is the charity that accompanies this season, ranging from food drives to dinners for the poor, special deeds for neighbours and wishes for hope and peace. An old friend, as an example, was quite taken aback to receive a beautiful card from a neighbour, with a hand written note wishing him a good holiday. How many more people’s days could be brightened with a kind word or a note? Although this time of year tends to bring out the good in people, there are others who suffer horribly from depression, too. Others can be downright grumpy. Keep an eye on your neighbour and be good to one another is advice we suspect everyone can agree on – regardless of religion.

As the year winds down, and the holiday week ensues, we wish our readers a safe holiday filled with merriment and peace.

Merry Christmas.