In recent years a lot of people have been making a fuss about the type of greeting we should offer each other during the month of December. Some Christians insist that “Merry Christmas” is the only acceptable greeting, while others prefer “Happy Holidays” so as to include everyone, whether or not they celebrate Christmas. (And isn’t it interesting that nobody says “Happy Christmas” considering that “merry” is an old-fashioned term that we don’t use in modern conversation other than at Christmastime?)
I grew up in a home where Christmas was celebrated every year, and that continues to be my favorite holiday. I still say “Merry Christmas” when sending cards or greeting those who celebrate the same holiday. I also recognize that some people in this country and around the world do not celebrate Christmas, and I think the way to build bridges with them is the more inclusive “Seasons Greetings.”
When it comes right down to it, December marks the season of Love and Light, however we choose to celebrate it, and no matter what name we give the holiday of choice. December must be more like June for those who live in the Southern hemisphere, but up here in the North we experience the shortest days and longest nights this month, and so most holiday celebrations include lights and candles to brighten the darkness.
Those who believe that “Merry Christmas” is the only acceptable greeting at this time of year may not realize that some of the other holidays celebrated in December originated long before Jesus was born. The celebration of his birth didn’t become a holiday until the year 336 when December 25th was finally decided on as Christ’s birthday. The Germanic peoples had celebrated Yule on December 25th, considered by ancients to be the winter solstice, for longer than historians can calculate. Hanukkah was first celebrated in the year 138 BCE. How can anyone claim that Christmas is the only December holiday worth recognizing when others pre-date it by centuries?
People have celebrated with fire and feasts in December for ages because the short days evoke the human need for fun and frivolity. It is also the time of year when many believe the veil between heaven and the world is thin, and “angels bend near the earth.” Each year, when the sun is close to the earth and the days are dark, there is an opportunity to connect with our inner light and wisdom. It is an ancient belief that the sun, being the symbol of our consciousness, is reborn on the 25th. It is a holy time for spiritual people, no matter what religion they do or don’t adhere to.
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Mexican holiday that is growing in popularity in the United States, celebrates the belief that a man encountered the Virgin Mary, Mexico's patron saint, in Mexico City on December 9 and 12, 1531. Some people hold the belief that the Virgin Mary appears to people in order to bring the energies of the Divine Feminine into the world. According to a message given by Patricia Cota-Robles for December 12, 2018: “The transfiguring divine love of our Mother God is the mightiest force in the Universe. It is the vibration from which we were born from the heart of God, and it is the vibration through which we must now evolve and ascend back into the heart of God.” She also said: “When we experience the love of our Mother God, we know that we are all one.”
So – this season is a time to experience and share divine love with all the world. It is a time to seek the light within, symbolized by the candles and festive lights we decorate our homes with, and a time to recognize the oneness of humanity in all of its diversity, celebrating the season in whatever way we choose.
I think I’m going to coin a new greeting for this time of year: “Season’s blessings to all!”