Is it OK to say that?
Given the so-called “culture wars” and issues with political
correctness which have erupted in recent years, I’m not always
Should Jesus and the manger scene be allowed in public spaces or
Should we just get rid of all religious symbols – no manger scenes,
no menorahs, no Kwanza display, no Christmas trees, no nothin’ –
and keep it all secular?
Well then, I ask, what’s the point?
I remember when I first started out in the business world, as a
banker. Our branches were located in an area with a heavy Jewish
population. Plus I had several good friends who were Jewish. So I
became sensitized to the importance of recognizing the Jewish
calendar and wishing Happy Hannukah around this time of year,
along with my Christmas wishes.
No big deal. People appreciated having their respective faith
and holidays acknowledged.
And if you weren’t sure, you could just say the generic, “Happy
Many times even my Jewish friends and clients would wish me a
Merry Christmas. In fact, a few of my Jewish friends actually
celebrate Christmas too.
Then, for some reason, things got harder. Suddenly it seemed we
were penalized for saying the “wrong thing”. Wishing someone
Merry Christmas, either in person or in your holiday cards,
became an action fraught with risk.
To this day, I’m not sure why, but it suddenly became a terrible
affront to wish someone the wrong thing.
Not a single one of my friends or clients ever had any issues. But
heaven help you if you said Merry Christmas to someone who wasn’t
a Christian, or who was an agnostic or atheist and thought the
whole Christmas thing was a bunch of BS.
For years after this, I used cards that said “Happy Holidays”
and had generic seasonal artwork, so as not to offend.
It took awhile, but I think some common sense finally returned.
It became OK again to say Merry Christmas.
And it took me a few years, but I finally said “enough!” and
went back to actual Christmas cards. Yes, cards with Merry
Christmas and Christmas trees and maybe a quotation from
In doing so, I got back to what the Christmas season really
means to me.
Over the years, I think people have come to recognize Christmas
as a universal celebration. It’s not a secular holiday,
but it IS one that people of all faiths (and even people of no
specific faith) can celebrate and enjoy.
You don’t have to believe in Jesus to celebrate the meaning
behind the season. The lights, the music, the gifts. Thinking
of others instead of begin wrapped up in yourself. Donating
money or time to those who have less.
Lightening up a little. Being more patient, more compassionate.
Maybe taking a few days off from work to regroup and ponder
the past year…and begin to make plans for the new year.
As we tell our son Miguel, it’s about having, keeping, and
SHARING Christmas spirit.
For me, the heart of Christmas is the birth of Jesus, and the
redemption, forgiveness, and love for all humankind it symbolizes.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal
The heart of Christmas is also the core mission of Jesus:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly”.
And the core message that Jesus taught:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
These are messages that resonate, whether you believe in Jesus or
not. Which makes Christmas so special – because it’s there for
anyone and everyone to embrace and make it their own.
I’d like to thank you for your support this year. Thank you for
signing up for my email newsletter. Thank you for reading.
I truly enjoy speaking with you, even if it’s only virtually through
these tips, as well as hearing from you when you email or write
My greatest hope is that the information, ideas and motivation
I provide through my programs and through my email messages to you
help you take action to achieve greater levels of health, energy,
confidence and fulfillment.
“Into a world filled with darkness came light…Into a world filled
with hopeful hearts came love…”
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my friend. May all your dreams
become reality in 2014!
You Can Do It!
“Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”
Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2013