Monday, November 18, 2013

I say tomato, you say tomato

I am strong in my faith.

I call this time of year Christmas. That is what works for me.

If you celebrate Hanukkah . . .

If you celebrate Kwanzaa . . .

If you celebrate something else . . .

If you celebrate nothing at all . . .

It really takes nothing away from me and mine.

I am strong enough in my faith that your faith being different from mine does not lessen mine. I feel no threat if you do not believe as I.

If you wish me a Happy Kwanzaa, I can sincerely wish one right back to you without changing the fact I am a Christian. After all, why wouldn’t I want you to have a happy holiday of your choice? I intend to, so why should I wish any less for you?

Why do we all have to be so mean and hateful to those who don’t believe as we do?

I am aware this is a nation founded on Christian principles. However I am also aware those principles transcend the man-made boundaries of faith. Many of the Christian principles held dear by those of the “faith” can be found under the auspices of many other faiths all over the world. It is also true the pilgrims came to this part of the world to escape religious persecution. Yet, here we are.

Love is the greatest commandment Christ gave us. However, the idea of loving thy neighbor appears in one form or another in all faiths. The variations are so slight as to be non-existent.

So why do we have so much trouble with it? I believe it is the most difficult because it is the most important. Big things are tough. Many of our neighbors are not easy to love, but we are all, Christians and otherwise, beholden to try and keep trying.

Why do Christians think it is all our own? Collectively we are arrogant and narrow-minded. The mob mentality takes over and it is ugly. I like to think, as individuals, we are not all like that. Although I must admit I see very little evidence of it. Too many Christians wear their faith like armor and defy anyone who dares believe anything but what they do. I find it difficult to believe this is what Jesus intended. That whole “love thy neighbor” things goes right out the window for those insecure in their faith and blind in the belief that their way is the only way.

I sincerely believe neither Jesus nor the founding fathers of this country intended for us to live an insular life. It impossible to love and help our neighbors when we refuse to descend from our self-made pedestal and get to know the needs, wants and wishes of our neighbors.

The holidays are nearly upon us. It is Christmastime. Hanukkah is next week. Kwanzaa begins on December 26. Is there some real reason we can’t all have happy holidays?

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