Winter holidays are a mixture of the religious and the secular, and have been so since long before the birth of Christ or the development of most, if not all, modern religions. Both parts of these holidays serve a significant purpose in the human experience, and both parts have public and private components.
Anyone who thinks that winter festivals originated with the Christian church badly needs to study history; anyone who thinks that a variety of religions do not impact our current festivals badly needs to study sociology.
We are a nation of diversity and, contrary to the opinion of some, our founding fathers tried their very best to protect that diversity. The majority does not have the right to force its religious will on the minority; the minority does not have the right to force its will on the majority. We are charged with the task of living in harmony, understanding and celebrating our differences.
When we wish someone well at holiday time, or any time, our intention should be just that -- to wish them well. Our good wishes to others should not be a vehicle for expressing our personal religious or secular emotions or ideas. We may choose to offer these good wishes in many ways, but our only concern should be the promulgation of the philosophy of "peace on earth, good will toward nen."
Whether we choose to say "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings" or any other form of well-wishing, it should be the emotion, not the semantics, which counts.
Kate Moore, Payson