Christmas greetings

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well, here we are. Christmas Eve 2008.

Unless something has gone amiss, you should be ready to kick back with loved ones, eat ample holiday foods and savor the joys of the holiday.

Granted, not all among us look with equal anticipation to today or tomorrow. For a variety of reasons, there will be those who have little joy in their lives, and today may not be as important. I suspect that will never change.

I have complained for years -- as have countless others -- that the commercialization of Christmas has gone way overboard.

This year however, because of the concerns with the economy, I have heard many people say they are scaling back their normally overabundant spirit.

And if there is a silver lining to the economic cloud, then this is one.

For several years now, the true meaning of this special time has been lost.

As a people we have lost that moral compass that should guide us to reflect on this time and the reason we celebrate.

There should never be a discussion centered on holiday greetings of "merry Christmas" instead of "happy holidays."

Yet in our obsessive rush for political correctness, we waste our time trying to please everyone and forget why we celebrate in the first place.

It seems that some among us are offended at the use of the words "Merry Christmas."

As not to offend, some have switched to a more generic greetings of "Happy holidays."

Well, I am offended that "Merry Christmas" is being abandoned by some.

I am truly offended that we have reached the point where the few impose their will on the many.

The unfortunate aspect of this growing political correctness hysteria is that it will never go away. Never again, I fear, will we return to those Norman Rockwell holidays. Maybe that's just some normal -- I suspect abnormal -- transition in the way things are.

When asked in a recent national survey, a majority of people said their most fond memories as a child centered on Christmas. Those surveyed recalled that favorite present or that special time with family as one of the most memorable moments of their lives.

Yet I fear we diminish this special time, perhaps unintentionally. We put too much emphasis on gift giving and forget some of the most special gifts possible. The gift of health, of family and of friends.

Christmas is not just one day nor one special season. Christmas is an attitude and a warmth that comes from those special memories past, present and future. And my wish for you this year is that you make memories today and tomorrow that will last a lifetime.

Merry Christmas.

Michael Jensen is a Southeast Missourian columnist and publisher of the Standard Democrat in Sikeston, Mo.

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