Monday, January 01, 2018

What I love about Christmas---as a Jew and as an American

I really like the Christmas experience in America and I am a pretty committed Jew.

What I like about it is the fact that, for about 2-3 weeks, most of the country is just in a slightly better mood. Yes, there are challenges with family schedules and neuroses and flights/train/car travel time, but there's a much SLOWER pace to the workday.

It's as if, building off the quote from Andrew Carnegie [ I think] that "the business of America is business," we all kind of agree to take a break for a short time.

I think that's a good thing. The other 50 weeks of the year are so hectic, it's just nice to have a little festive cheer.  It so happens that, it began, because the holiday has Christian significance, but now it's become an American holiday...and that, I think, is part of what makes America great. 

The best of the world come here and make a contribution. That contribution is uniquely yours and what you get out of it is uniquely yours....and that's what America represents. The chance to be uniquely you.

Coming back to Christmas, then...there are two components.  The religious (originating) component and the secular (modern) component. The secular components has become part of America's Operating System, which basically says "we do christmas and we celebrate the year at that time with people we care about, but it doesn't necessarily HAVE to be about Jesus/religion. It can be, if you want it to be and that's your right, but it doesn't have to be either because that's our right. Understanding that balance is the key to understand what it means to be American.

So, since we've incorporated the secular components of Christmas into the American OS, I can easily say that, as an identified and proud Jew and identified and proud American at the same time, I love Christmas because of what it means to me on both levels. 

I don't celebrate Christmas as a Christian, but I do celebrate the time around Christmastime as an American and I cherish that shared experience with all other Americans.
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