After the transaction was done and I sat down to eat my pretzel, I got the whole schpeel. The lady went on ad nauseum about how she says "Merry Christmas" and not Happy Holidays, and it's Jesus' birthday and Jesus is the reason for the season and political correctness is killing our culture, and the Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings phrases are anti-Christian. ...and she's a Christian.
Geez. I just wanted a pretzel.
I was once married to an Iranian (who knew?). This was back before the Iranian Revolution and before the conservative Islamic traditions were adopted in Iran. My ex husband was raised in a good Muslum (Moslem back then) family. His parents did the traditional prayers daily.
It was amazing to see this family react to how Americans celebrated Christmas. They were enthralled by the magic, the decorations, the music, the food, wrapping, trees, Santa and the coming together of the entire country over one special day. And though they were not and never were going to be Christians, they wanted to be a part of the joy. Eventually they got a tree and did the presents and the wrapping and did their version of celebrating. It was precious to watch, really.
The Christmas spirit is a living thing. It's palpable. And though it's rooted in the birth Christ and the belief that he was God incarnate, the Christmas message of peace on earth and good will to all can resonate with all faiths. It's something the entire world can embrace - even the non-Christians. Isn't that a beautiful thing? Must we quibble about words?
Who cares how we greet each other if the greeting is filled with love and sincerity? If you wish me a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays, why should I scrutinize your intention or dilute the power of a spiritual moment by focusing on which words you chose?
Here's to wishing you happiness and joy during this holiday season.