Friday, December 16, 2005

Merry Whatever

Hi G-- Regarding the whole controversy about use of the word "Christmas" you mentioned in the letter that arrived today; I think the whole damn country is missing the point, which is as follows. When I was growing up in Singapore, the population included large groups of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and many other religions. Each time one of the major religions had a holiday, festival or important religious observance, it was a national holiday for everyone, and the whole populace got the day off. On a Buddhist holiday, the Buddhists did their thing, and if you had Buddhist friends, you participated as much as their religion would allow (which usually meant visiting as many of them as possible in order to devour large quantities of their holiday food!) and generally celebrating with them. Two weeks later, there was a Hindu day, and everybody took the day off out of respect for their Hindu peers. More food! And so on. In other words, Christians in this country should be more aware of, and look forward to, the celebration of Hannukah, Ramadan etc. with their friends of different faiths. Everybody should be happy to say "Merry Christmas", but only if they can be equally happy and willing to say "Happy Hannukah" or "Happy Kwanzaa" or whatever. What's wrong with that? Of course, the prerequisite to this attitude is for Christians to stop thinking of their way as the only "right" way. What a concept! And probably not likely to happen soon. End of sermon! Regards, Allen

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