There is no war on Christmas.
There is, however, an offensive against inclusion.
“Happy Holidays” is a phrase,
intended to include everyone.
It recognizes that many people celebrate a festival of lights.
This time of year when the nights are longest.
We need to share as much light as we can.
I am grateful for the light of all people.
But some want only the light of Christmas.
They get offended when others are included in happy holiday cheer.
Actually Christmas is most harmed by the Christmas shopping season. It starts earlier each year.
I saw Christmas stuff in stores this past September.
Materialism spits in the face of Jesus,
who declared that his kingdom was not of this world,
and told the rich young man to give everything to the poor.
The Christmas stories tell of Jewish shepherds and Zoroastrian Magi visiting the holy child.
If the first Christmas was multi-faith,
why cannot Christians celebrate with other faiths?
There is no reason to demand
that this time of year be exclusively Christian.
On November 3, 2013, Hindus celebrated Diwali.
Lamps were lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Let us include the estimated 1.6 million Hindus in America.
From November 27 Through December 5, 2013 is Chanukah.
This festival of lights celebrates the ancient Hebrews overcoming oppression. Let us include the estimated 5.5 million Jews living in America.
December 8, 2013 is Bodhi Day.
It celebrates the enlightenment of the Buddha.
Let us include the estimated 1.2 million Buddhists in America.
December 21, 2013 is the Winter Solstice.
Indigenous people all over the northern hemisphere
light candles on the longest night of the year.
“Christmas” trees, mistletoe and Yule logs are pagan symbols.
They are not present in the biblical stories of Christmas.
Native Americans have a variety of traditions celebrated at the solstice
Let us include the estimated 1 million Pagans living in America.
Let us include the estimated 5 million Native Americans living in America.
December 23 is HumanLight, a Humanist holiday
It was established by the New Jersey Humanist Network in 2001.
It celebrates the light of reason.
Let us include the estimated 34 million non-religious people in America.
December 25 is Christmas.
It celebrates the birth of Jesus.
Who encouraged us to let our light shine before all people.
Let us include the estimated 230 million Christians in America.
December 26-31 is Kwanzaa.
Candles are lit each day to honor African American heritage.
Let us include the estimated 39 million African Americans.
Only 73% of Americans identify as Christian.
That means 1 in 4 people you greet are non-Christian.
Saying “Happy Holidays” includes everybody.
Blessings, Rev. Charlie