19 Dec 2010 - Be Generous of Spirit

It’s that time of year when my mail box, and probably yours, is filled with Christmas cards with the theme ‘Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men’ or ‘Peace on Earth to Men of Good Will’. Yes, that should be the spirit of Christmas, but why is it so difficult for some people to allow that to happen? Why can’t I say Merry Christmas to a person on a Chicago street without getting a strange or nasty look? Why can’t people of different religions, different cultures and different countries respect each other’s religion and beliefs? Why can’t we get along?

Again this year I am seeing headlines saying this group is filing suit to keep a Nativity scene out of a town square, or another lawsuit to keep the symbols of Hanukkah or other religions from being displayed alongside the Christ Child. More often than not, the American Civil Liberties Union is involved and of course, the only people who make money are the attorneys who go to court. But even worse than the lost time and money is the discord that occurs in a community, putting neighbor against neighbor. Why can’t we get along?

It is a great time of year to learn about the religions and cultures of other people. Thirty years ago my wife and I moved into a new home on a street of eight homes in a Chicago suburb and soon learned we were the only Christians on the street. Over the years our Jewish neighbors invited us to their religious holiday meals and events and we did the same. I learned so much, but the greatest lesson was that while we may take different paths, our goals are the same...peace and love. We can get along!

Chris Krug, the editor of the Northwest Herald, our daily newspaper in northern Illinois recently shared his thoughts on this subject...”Merry Christmas. These are just words, and not unkind words. Not words intended to hurt anyone’s feelings. They are expressions of joy; not pain, not humiliation. They are sincere, perhaps some of the most sincere words that many of us speak all year long. Christmas is a beautiful time of the year for so many Americans, a time when there not only is much to share but also an uncommon willingness to share, a time of peace for all mankind.”

So, let’s get along and put aside our differences, let our religious displays stand side by side and tell the American Civil Liberties Union to take a rest and enjoy their holiday. Hopefully, the end result will be ‘Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men’ and wouldn’t it be wonderful if that could last 52 weeks a year.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.