Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad, Seasons Greetings, Good Cheer ... .
It's Christmas, and using any one of those salutations cannot diminish another.
Indeed, they all deepen our joy and our faith.
The spirit of the season — no matter your preferred name for it — is a gift of sentimental memory, love and ever-returning hope in a new day.
Sure we get caught up in the retail rush and frantic scheduling, but there's no denying that in part we do the crazy stuff for the few precious moments of peace and love we seek within ourselves and with our loved ones and friends at Christmas.
Don't we always hope for peace? Yes. Does goodwill have to have a season? Certainly not.
The one thing Christmas offers us is an understanding that when we genuinely love and hold one another in our hearts, simply declaring that love — for each other, our world and this season — is far more eloquent than any other gift we could give or receive.
Is this not, after all, why we love that cranky old Scrooge, who embodies our hateful, shattered world but in one night is made whole by realization, repentance and love?
All any of us really want for Christmas, after all, is to love and know we are loved. We want to believe in a world that lives up to the purity of love and good will — a world that accepts Santas of any color, a world that understands the faith we harbor in our hearts, no matter its flavor, is neither superior nor inferior.
No matter our religions or traditions, this is a season that makes homage to a common humanity.
Our world is complicated, but it also is simple.
Christmas is about a spirit — a feeling of oneness and reverence; a time of family, friends, laughter and good food; an opportunity to reflect, find redemption, worship, seek solace, love and feel loved.
Christmas is what we make it, based on our beliefs and based on our hearts. It is a promise we can make with ourselves for today, tomorrow and a new day after that.
Peace on Earth, goodwill to all.
The message is divine and universal. The effort is human.