From my earliest memories, Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. As a child I remember Christmas was first and foremost a religious holiday. Secondly, it was about the Christmas tree and the presents. Then, of course, the food. How I have always loved the feasts that accompany this time of the year. As a child I always made up a Christmas wish list.
As I grew older I never lost my appreciation for the magic of Christmas. I love the music. I love the decorations, the lights, the feelings in the air. There has always seemed to be a special attitude where people care more about each other.
Then I became a father. I got to experience the joy of my little children coming down the hall looking with awe and wonder at the lighted Christmas tree and the presents all around. Anyone who has ever doubted the existence of Santa Claus need only look into the faces of the little ones on Christmas Day. Even Scrooge would melt at the sight. We would ask our children to prepare a Christmas wish list also.
Now I am a grandfather and it’s as if a circle has been completed. It’s easy to become a child again. Today I look into the future my grandchildren will have. I look at the world they will inherit. I look at what we are leaving them. I wonder if they and their children will ever get to experience the simple Christmases I’ve enjoyed. Frankly, I am worried.
So I have decided to put together another Christmas wish list. Number one on that list is simply world peace. I realize there are many different peoples in our world. There are many different religions. There are rich countries and there are poor countries. So, with all the diversity that exists, how can we all “just get along?” Probably the first thing that must occur is tolerance. Everybody isn’t going to be a Christian. Everybody is not going to be a Muslim. Everybody is not going to be an atheist. That doesn’t mean we must destroy anyone and everyone with whom we disagree. More people have been killed in the name of religion than anything I know. Most border disputes have as their origin religious differences. And so I wish for peace through tolerance.
Perhaps if we all were more tolerant, the happy greeting of “Merry Christmas” would not be so offensive to some. Perhaps it would be received as it’s offered, just a happy greeting at Christmas time. Sadly, some cannot see the forest for the Christmas trees. Maybe what we all need is a good dose of tolerance.
Next then on my Christmas wish list is love. Imagine how this world would look if there was more love for each other. What better time of the year than Christmas to extend that love. In order to be loved, however, one must be able to love.
And so, at the risk of offending a tiny minority of the “habitually offended,” my final wish is this. Out of love for my fellow man and tolerance for our differences, may you and yours have peace through love. May you be tolerant and enjoy the blessing of that tolerance. And may you all have a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.