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  • Betty Girardeau

What Is It All About...In the End


While this post will not be the last of my Christmas memories and musings, I really want to write a few more words about what I think is the real importance of the holiday season...for all of us, not just Christians and not just about Christmas either. Other religions and faiths have their own special days and times of the year. Mine, because of my accident of birth , happens to be Christmas. All faiths have their special celebratory and equally important to them times of the year. Yesterday was the first day of Hannukah. My daughter married into a Jewish family. Their traditions are not mine, but that makes them no less special and important to them. Does that give me a right to denigrate them any more than I would want them to denigrate mine. I don't think so. The first Christmas that my daughter entered into a special relationship with her husband-to-be, I especially wanted him to feel that our family supported and believed that his traditions were no less important than ours. So I bought them a Menorah and the candles to go with it. Last Christmas I watched my granddaughter and her Dad several evenings light Menorah candles and recite the appropriate prayers to go with their lighting. I saw that that was special to her. But I know that the Christmas tree and its lighting is equally important to her, too. I think she is blessed to have two holiday traditions that are meaningful in her life, not just Christmas and Hannukah, but also Easter and Passover. Both of these are steeped in tradition, and if you study and understand them, they are not that far different from each other. The one truism to all of these holidays is the word "tradition." Tradition is an anchor point for all of us. It is, in fact, a "security blanket" against all the onslaughts of politics and pandemics, and other negative things in our lives. That is why, regardless of our faith, I think we have an obligation to honor everyone's traditions even if they are not ours. And when we don't, can we even imagine the long-term pain and hurt that will inflict? If there is one message comes from my Christian tradition, is that we " should love one another." Finally, I guess I should tell the story of the picture with this post. Probably in Christmas 1948 or 1949, my Mother's mother and her daughter (Aunt Dinnie) decided that a great gift for my sister, mother, and me should be matching flannel nightgowns. My Mother, sister and I were thrilled with these matching gifts. And my Dad, who saw this as an ultimate photo op, had "his girls" dress in our gowns and even hold candles (unlit) while he took a picture that would ultimately be sent to the givers. Mine was not in one of my favorite colors. I think it was yellow. But I know I loved the idea of the givers loving us so much that they wanted to make and give such a gift. And that really is "what it is all about." It is about love and respect.

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