Last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, my phone buzzed when a text message came in. Of course, I’m a westerner in 2016, so I have nomophobia. This is a recently created diagnosis of the anxiety one feels when they are not in touch with their mobile device.
I checked the message which simply said, “Merry Christmas!” The text was from my friend, David.
Pretty benign, right? Friend wishing another friend a merry Christmas isn’t a big deal…or is it?
David is Jewish. A practicing Jew, at that. My holiday of Christmas isn’t something he, nor his family, nor his religion, recognizes…except that he does. Why? Because we are friends.
We live in a Judeo Christian society. It is constantly undergoing change, but for all practical purposes, the majority of America still comes from a Judeo Christian background. I am not nearly as good at sending my Jewish friends best wishes on the high holy days. I have a few connections who are Muslim and I try to recognize Ramadan…honestly, did I even spell that right? Those who celebrate Festivus? Yeah, got them covered, too.
Just because the tradition you come from may be Christian, the most Christ-like thing to do at this time of year is not to evangelize, but rather practice the generosity and compassion shown by Jesus. When a friend of a different religion reaches out to recognize MY faith, that shows the type of generosity and kindness of spirit that is going to help us stay out of our religious silos.
So in 2016, I say…Merry whatever you celebrate!