Years ago, I found myself speaking to a group of third graders about the winter holidays. Before my unifying, peace-promoting, educational moment was over, a Jewish boy and Christian boy got into a verbal tussle about whose faith was right and whose was wrong. Their arguments highlighted the impossibilities of burning oils and virgin births. I shared with them the simple truth, while my beliefs may seem silly compared to your beliefs, they are what give me a sense of hope.
Last week, I listened to a choir sing these lyrics penned by Ernie Lijoi. I wish I could have sung them to a room of third graders. I’ll at least share the words with you…
Now Christmas and Hanukkah are vying for attention.
There’s Kwanza, Winter Solstice, and many more I could mention.
All these different customs and all these different gods.
If faith is the path to love and kindness, why are we all at odds?
I’m not sure what you believe, whatever faith you’re clinging to,
Life is hard enough, and this past year I know was rough,
So Merry Everything to you.
Though we often disagree about the things that we hold true,
Really, it’s okay, I choose to love you either way.
Merry Everything to you.
Let’s put our differences aside, for a moment,
And let our different worlds collide, for a moment,
Put away the fear, spread a little cheer,
And if we hold the moment fast, it might just last throughout the year.
We all need a little joy. The time for peace is overdue.
In the grander scheme, we’re not as different as we seem,
So why not take a broader view and be a part of something new.
Let’s celebrate these days with an all-inclusive phrase,
Merry Everything to you.
Hold fast to your beliefs. Love your neighbor. Enjoy the peace of these holy days.

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