George Goodwin Kilburne
Well, Tuesday is December 1st, the official start of that tradition which everyone has come to know and love -- Jo's Christmas
I am always happy to share my tradition of Christmas, just as I am honored to be invited to share the traditions of Diwali, Ramadan, Chanukah, and all the wonderful other traditions that each culture has nurtured over the centuries. One of my favorite events of the year is the Chinese New Year here in Vancouver. One year I had the honor of being invited to share Chinese New Year with a Chinese family. We went to a gorgeous Chinese restaurant, and all the little boys wore ties, and the little girls wore red velvet dresses with white lace collars. It is an experience I will always treasure.
There has been a movement in the past decade or so to make Christmas all-inclusive, to call it "holiday" and to expunge any reference to Christmas. Well, Christmas has always been inclusive -- never exclusive. Changing the name to "holiday" does not change the inclusivity of Christmas. It belongs to everyone, but it is still Christmas. How on earth did we allow Christmas to become politically incorrect?
Christmas is very much a part of my family and cultural tradition. I was raised in the Anglican Church, and a big part of Christmas for me was the Christmas pageant -- both at church and at school -- and the wonderful, magical midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Over the years Christmas has become more secular and everyone participates, and that's okay with me. The idea of Christianity, after all, is about sharing, don't you agree? It is the main principle of all religions. And although many of us move away from our religious roots during the years, we never really leave them. Christmas is the time of year when food banks and other charitable organizations fill their shelves. People become more thoughtful. If you look in the Thesaurus under the word "charitable" you will also see the word "tolerant".
Tolerance is something we have all learned to practice, as we become a more global society. As we learn more about each other's cultures, we find many beautiful things that we didn't know about before. I'm fortunate to work with people from Japan, China, the Philippines, Israel, Mexico, the United States, Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Great Britain, France, Holland, South Africa, India -- and so many more. The one thing I have noticed -- universally -- is that all of these folks are proud of their cultures and traditions. When they bring a special traditional food to share with us at work, they always tell a story of how their mother used to prepare it for special occasions. There is a poignant gleam in their eyes when they tell the stories and share the special dish with us.
It is not right to ask any culture to homogenize their traditions and customs -- to take away from their culture -- just so that other folks will not be "offended". And so it is not right to ask me to change -- water down, if you will -- my Christmas. It is part of my culture and traditions, and it is Christmas -- not "holiday". So, I would respectfully request you to be tolerant of me and my customs, and celebrate Christmas with me. I'm happy to share it. Just don't ask me to give it away and change it into something unrecognizable to me, in order that someone else won't be offended. No offence is meant in my asking you to share my Christmas. Hey ... I'm also happy to share my rum and eggnog.
Now, get out there and enjoy the CHRISTMAS season...!