I've always loved Christmas and I loved it even more when I discovered that, after early Christians created the holiday in the early 4th Century (Christmas was originally known as the Feast of the Nativity), they did some heavy marketing.
The end of the fall, around the winter solistice, had long been a time of celebration of the end of the harvest and beginning of winter. The Romans had Saturnalia, there was the Mythraic's sun's birthday, Teutonic Yule, Druid festivals and others. We're talking about bigtime parties; major throw-downs.
So the early Christians incorporated many of the "heathen" traditions into Christmas. Rituals such as the Christmas tree, yule log, giving gifts, lights, mistletoe, holly and ivy, and wassailing (drinking to the health and well-being of others) all came from other cultures.
Let's think this through; if you are going to ask folks to follow your beliefs, make it as easy as possible for them to do so without changing their habits and the rituals they love.
Take a moment this holiday season to realize that almost all of who we are, where we are, and what we have has come from other people, other times, and other beliefs. Be grateful.
We live in the greatest time of opportunity in the history of mankind in a nation based on exploration, adventure, and achievement. Be grateful.
As humans with free will we have the ability to create and shape our futures, unlike any creatures on earth. Be grateful.
If you are under an avalanche of preparations for a Christmas feast, gift-giving, holiday visitors, and seeing loved ones....be grateful.
See you next Monday.