It’s been a couple of years since I updated Birmingham Raw, and I live in Georgia now, so I’ll have to see about a way to resume writing about history and politics. Obviously, my perspective has changed, but I’m still proud of a lot of the content, which deals with growing up in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement, and later with various political campaigns I was involved with. I’m still trying to figure out what’s next.
Christians began the new liturgical year last Sunday, and today was the second Sunday of Advent. In the next few weeks, Muslims will celebrate Mawlid-al-Nabi (birthday of Mohammad) on 12/11. My Jewish friends will celebrate Chanukah starting 12/25, the same day most Christians celebrate Christmas (or the first of the 12 days of Christmas), and then Epiphany.
Orthodox Christians won’t get around to Christmas until January 7. Pagans will observe the Winter Solstice on 12/21. For some of these occasions, I’m not even sure what the proper greeting should be. Faking it can backfire. As a Christian Gentile, it seems both silly and patronizing to say Happy Chaunkah. Trying to dispense greetings you don’t understand can also lead to tragically comic results. I can imagine a well-meaning Hindu checking her spring calendar and wishing me a Merry Lent — hardly appropriate for the season of fasting and repentance that begins with ashes.
So I say to all of you that if I’m not sure which tradition you observe, and on which day, it is still my wish that that you experience happiness of the next few weeks. So I may wish you Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings. It’s my way of wishing you joy, not declaring war on your faith. If I’m sure you share my tradition, I may even wish you a Merry Christmas.
Can we all live with that?