The Holidays are Upon Us!
Growing up, we celebrated…well, pretty much everything.
Our family is Catholic, so we followed the Catholic traditions for many years. Later on, and/or if we visited my father’s sister, my aunt Pura, the celebration was more of a protestant Christianity versus Catholicism. In addition, we were very close with a Jewish family (our mothers met in Lamaze, and their oldest and my brother are about only a week apart). So we celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas all together. After my parents divorced, my father married a Jewish woman, so we celebrated the Jewish holidays even more!
Looking back, I am so grateful for all of that exposure. It demonstrated the beauty in all religions and denominations. It showed me that all of the holidays and holiday traditions are wonderful. All of the celebrations were just a normal part of the season for us. It was such a wonderful way to learn about other cultures and religions, and to be open and accepting of traditions that differed from ours.
You don’t have to search far and wide to see the divide among people this season. There are those who say that we need to revert back to the old days of saying “Merry Christmas,” and only that. On the other hand, you have folks who say that we should appreciate whichever greeting we receive.
Personally, I am happy to give and receive whichever holiday wish the other person feels appropriate. I mean, is it really in the spirit of the holiday season to bicker and nit-pick over what people say? Personally, I don’t think so.
Now more than ever, we need to focus on the true meaning of the holiday season. It is a time to come together as friends, families, and communities. It is a time for us to share love and generosity with those we know and love. It is a time to reflect and have gratitude. It is a time to look forward to the light (the increasing amount of daylight as well as the metaphorical/theological light of our lives). It’s a time for love and compassion. It is a time of selflessness and giving. It is a time for us to connect with others. It is a time of joy.
Regardless of your race, religion, language, ethnicity or culture, I wish you a wonderful, beautiful holiday season. I hope that it brings you joy, comfort, happiness and love. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and content. May you find all the beauty and joy in life during this holiday season.
In this season of generosity, I ask that if you can, please try to remember those who are less fortunate than we. Please try to reach out and help others if you can. Donate your time, money, clothes, presents, food – whatever you can. As members of the LGBT community, we know that for some, the holiday season is not joyful. Rather it is cold, lonely, and isolated. People are in need of homes, families and food. Since this is the time of giving, let us give to our brothers and sisters; let us strengthen the community in “LGBT community.” Let’s receive by giving to our own. After all, that is what the holidays are all about.
So…Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Blessed Yule! Happy Kwanza! Happy Bodhi Day! Blessed Pancha Ganapati! Happy Festivus and Happy New Year to one and all!