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A friend from church sent me an email about her friend who is a talented artist. For several years she, among many others, has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The White House sends out an invitation to send an ornament and informs the artists of the theme for the year. She got her letter from the White House recently. It said that the trees would not be called Christmas trees this year. The will be called Holiday trees. Artists were asked not to send any ornaments painted with a religious theme. She was very upset at this development and sent back a reply telling them that she painted the ornaments for Christmas trees and would not be sending any for a display that left Christ out of Christmas.

This message inspired me to declare that I am not ashamed to acknowledge that I am a Christian. Our country was founded on religious freedom. The first amendment in the Bill of Rights is the right to worship as our conscience dictates. I am happy to allow others to express their convictions and display their sacred symbols and images. I humbly request that this courtesy and right be honored no matter what cultural background we come from.

Holidays are times for family, friends and worship – whatever religion we practice. This month we express our gratitude to the Almighty for our bounteous gifts – a tradition that was started with the pilgrims. Next month I will celebrate Dutch St. Nicholas Eve on December 6th, and Christmas on December 25th. This is a season where we are usually more charitable, more giving than other times. Let’s open our hearts to the diverseness that makes our country great and extend our tolerance to those of other faiths and spiritual backgrounds. But please don’t make me bury my joy of the sacred nativity.

Those who want to be “PC” need to remember that half of the world is not having winter – it is their summer. So how accurate is it to rename the season as  a “Winter Festivity.” Several States in our Union don’t even get snow. Does that make it necessary to ban the public display of nostalgic scenes. I hope not. My wish is to not censor the celebration of traditional Christmas but to allow it to continue with Jesus’ birth and Santa side by side.  Allow others the freedom to include any other seasonally appropriate religious or cultural holiday expressions as they desire.
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