Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Simple Thoughts on “Christmas” Programs

There are ever and on-going controversies about the correctness of public schools offering “Christmas” (rather than “Holiday”) programs, having “winter” break instead of “Christmas” break, etc., etc. 

I was born, raised, and choose now to live in a part of the world that is still vast majority Christian of some stripe. To this day our local school district has annual Christmas concerts and programs with a mixture of religious and secular selections. (When I was in school the major controversy was the Jehovah’s Witnesses who didn’t allow their children to celebrate any holiday, including birthdays.)

I have lived overseas in two countries and traveled in more with many different traditions. Never once did I expect the communities I traveled to or lived in to remove their religious or cultural identities because it might exclude my beliefs. Schools took holiday breaks around major religious festivals and sang songs or performed skits with religious words, messages, or stories. Even if I didn’t agree with it all, I appreciated it. This was a celebration of their culture. If I were to raise children there, I would think of it as a great cultural opportunity to experience that way of thinking.

I sometimes wish we had a little more diversity of celebration and belief in our area. I think it would be great to include more ways of celebrating. But I do not believe it should be at the expense of eliminating one or all. I don’t expect others to hide their traditions when I travel or live among them. I don't expect my own people to hide their traditions when I am home and others are traveling and living among them.

But I do expect us to continue to celebrate while being respectful of outsiders. I hope we always continue celebrating and sharing our unique and festive culture, while adapting and growing it as change comes and new and blended traditions emerge.

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