December 20, 2012 | Vol. 116 -- No. 35

Keep true spirit of season going throughout the year

In Our Opinion

Christmas.

It can elicit the best in all of us as well as seemingly the worst.

Something we can all likely agree on is that Christmas has of course been commercialized beyond recognition. The first hints of the next celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ begin to surface about Halloween; not with religious recognition, but rather with bobbles and trinkets.

A peek at the breakdown of religious following in the U.S. shows that with over 51 percent of the population claiming to be Protestant, another 24 percent Catholic and 3-plus percent described as “other Christian,” those who traditionally recognize Christmas are an overwhelming majority in the country.

But as much as we in the West hold the concept of Christmas near and dear to our hearts, it’s of course not the only celebration of the season, nor was it the first such. The Jewish recognition of Hanukkah was in place well before Christmas was born.

Under 2 percent of the population claims to be Jewish, while Buddhism (.7 percent) and Muslims (.6 percent) are even smaller religious groups. And those professing no religious preference make up a little over 16 percent.

With this diversity amongst our population – no matter how large or small the number – there’s bound to be disagreements.

Enter the so-called “War on Christmas,” a term bantered about liberally this time of year is not so much an assault on the celebration itself but rather some people’s insistence on being able to make a specific religious statement on public property.

Nothing stops businesses or private citizens from offering their religious point of view or showing off their favorite Christmas display. Displays can be found in every corner of our communities, even to the extent of Cheney’s Amazing Grace Fellowship that literally brings to life the story of Christmas with the live nativity scene on Betz Road.

Regardless of the name or origin of the holiday, whether you believe or not, the bottom line for the season is remembering to make it a time of giving beyond those we personally hold dear to our hearts.

While it may not be easily evident to those of us who are busy passing to and from our duties and destinations each day, the need for our help is always there. The time between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – the trilogy of the giving season holidays ­– allows us the perfect opportunity to focus, recharge and renew our efforts to give.

Rather than let these times dictate to us as simply being our prime time just to give, they should maybe also be the spring board to continued giving all through the year.

John Lennon summed it up well in his song, “So This Is Christmas,” where the lyrics continue, “And what have you done, another year over and a new one just begun.”

So this is Christmas, and what do you plan to do moving forward into the New Year?

Why not make it the best and keep that true spirit of the season going throughout the year.

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