Getting along at the holidays

First of all, I want to thank those men and women who came forward to share their stories and thoughts about the “Me Too” movement. To one particular lady from Cassadaga, your letter touched me greatly. Thank you for writing. Now then …

‘Tis the Season — which some of us dread and some of us look forward to with great anticipation. I hope your Thanksgiving was peaceful and drama free.

Every year the Facebook posts start about putting the Christ in Christmas and the anti-Happy Holiday wishes. Everyone seems to take offense at something these days. I take offense at being told what I must, or must not, say during the holiday season. Happy Holidays is a perfectly acceptable greeting to me.

After all, November and December are not just about Thanksgiving and Christmas. During this 60-day span comes Thanksgiving, Mawlid Un Nabi, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Advent, Christmas and Kwanzaa, just to name a few. I have friends and acquaintances who celebrate these special days rather than Christmas. While most of them are not offended by being wished “Merry Christmas,” knowing that they are being wished health and happiness in the Christian fashion, many of my Christian friends are outraged that anyone says “Happy Holidays;” as if it is a personal affront to their beliefs.

I know a lot of people think the United States is a Christian nation. In fact, the country has no specific religious affiliation, by design of our founding fathers.

Wars, conflicts and atrocities have been committed in the name of religion since time began, and in their wisdom, our forefathers did not want religion intermixed with government. We are a melting pot of races, religions and nationalities, and we are all free to worship, or not worship, as we have been taught.

I consider myself to be a very spiritual being. I do not subscribe to any particular church or belief, however, I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity of life — all life. I abhor cruelty to animals as well as people. I believe in the possibility of all humans to live better lives if they so choose. I believe it is my responsibility to live my life in the best manner I can, to be an example of kindness and generosity of spirit to others. I do not always reach my own goals and beliefs, but I try.

And so, at this, the beginning the religious and secular holiday season, I ask forgiveness of those I have offended, and I wish each and every one of you a life filled with promise and expectation.

Happy Holidays.

Robyn Near is a Ripley resident. Send comments to