Christmas is far beyond simply being a holiday


This Christmas season got a tad surreal for me when I ended a conversation with “Happy Holidays.”

After ordering fudge for my cousin and her family, I was saying good-bye to a customer service representative for Gethsemani Farms of the Abbey of Gethsemani, which is about as Catholic a group as you can get.

“Happy Holidays,” indeed. I’m not sure if the order taker corrected me or if I switched to “Merry Christmas” myself, but it was a bit of an eye opener.

I have ODed on Christmas political correctness.

I don’t have a problem with avoiding Christmas greetings — via cards or on my voicemail — at work. I work with a very diverse group of people, and I play by the rules.

But in my personal life, I’m entitled to do what I want to do with the understanding it does not step on someone else’s rights. So, the cards I send in December are Christmas cards, complete with religious themes, no Santa or snowman or nature scenes (unless they go to my Jewish friends, in which case they are seasonal cards or Hanukkah cards).

I put up a Christmas tree, not a holiday tree.

I most enjoy songs about the birth of Christ, not about winter wonderlands or animals or toys (think “Silent Night” versus “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”)

I am blessed with family, friends and co-workers who are Christian, Jewish, Muslin and agnostic. I respect their beliefs and, in some cases, their right to not believe or to question. I am not inclined to want to press my faith on others (except my Catholic godchildren, but that’s another story), and I get aggravated by people who try to shove their beliefs on me.

But I’m still chagrined by how much people and organizations have removed Christmas from this time of year, whether department stores or television programs or acquaintances running into each other at the grocery store.

It’s Christmas. I am going to remember and hopefully others will understand that it is OK to wish another Christian a “Merry Christmas.”

Happy holidays? I hope so, but surely Christmas is far beyond simply being a holiday.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thank You, God.

Patricia Quigley is a member of Incarnation Parish, Mantua.