Season's Greetings

 Topic: Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Whatever.

Today, we will discuss the ways in which we greet one another during the month of December, and how to accept the greetings of others as they are intended.

Every year, possibly since the Big Bang, some people raise a huge stink about what it is acceptable to say to another person in December. “Happy holidays” and “Season’s greetings” are for godless heathens, as is “Happy Hanukkah” for some reason. No. What must be said, from Black Friday all the way through December 26th, is “Merry Christmas” and nothing else. To do otherwise is to let the terrorists win. Some people even say “Merry Christmas” in this really aggressive manner, daring you to respond with some un-American generic winter holiday greeting.

Speaking personally, I do not care if somebody says “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy holidays” or even “Hail C’Thulu.” I will take it as good wishes, respond in kind, and go on with my day. You do not have to choose to be offended by the way you are greeted. Most of the time, just like with “bless you,” somebody is being as nice to you as they can be, by wishing you well. The most Patient and Compassionate thing you can do is repeat back their greeting in their own words. They will believe that they made a connection and feel good about the interaction, as will you, if for different reasons.

Above all, the Path instructs us to be kind to others, like the Sikh or the Dalai Lama. Sometimes that means accepting people for who they are, even if they are petty and small-minded. If somebody is trying to be nice, no matter what form that attempt may take, it is always best to be nice right back. Meet people where they are and try to make every interaction a positive one. I know that is not always possible; some people really are just mean, because of all they are suffering or have suffered. Of course, the Virtue of Compassion teaches us to be nice to mean people, as well, because they are usually mean for a reason.

The Path does not officially recognize any other religion’s holidays. Each adherent of the Path is free to choose a winter holiday to celebrate, or to not celebrate one at all. Personally, I observe the Solstice, and present close friends and family with small gifts. I usually say “Happy holidays” because that covers all of them and I can use it until New Year’s Day. I also send “Merry Christmas” messages on December 25th to those whom I know observe the day.

Ultimately, your winter holiday greeting is up to you. How you react to the greetings of others is also up to you. Do yourself and your Karma a favor, and accept things in the best possible light. Hayyp Holidays, Merry Christmas, Namaste, God bless, Blessed be, Peace be with you....all these things mean the same thing: I wish you happiness. Just accept the message. You can throw away the envelope.


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