Happy Holidays

Wishing all of you the best this Holiday season.

I captured the above image at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and included it here because it is partially what this time of year means to me. However for me, when wishing someone else good tidings at this time of year, “Happy Holidays” is used interchangeably with “Merry Christmas” and both phrases possess a cassette of meanings and emotions involving friends, family, charity and thankfulness for the gifts that have been provided including the time, place and context of where I live. I also understand that others may not share my perspective and I both respect and honor that difference.

With all the current political furor over just what this time of year means, I should hope that this could be a time for all of us to reflect on what this time of year means for us as individuals and as communities. I understand that there are those who feel that wishing folks “Happy Holidays” is somehow offensive and are threatening lawsuits and boycotts to force stores and businesses to print “Merry Christmas” on anything they produce for consumption at this time of year. My response to that is twofold. First, living in a modernized, Western democracy with the standard of living we have, religious fundamentalists cannot bemoan the secularization of Christmas and have their capitalism at the same time. If they want money from consumers and cheap goods themselves, they need to adopt a little more tolerance. After all, if they understood the historical context of religion, they might realize that there has not been a religion that at one time or another has not had its members experience persecution. So, one might surmise that this experience might engender some degree of tolerance and respect for others beliefs.

Next, people have been wishing others Happy Holidays for as long as I can remember as a means to wish folks both a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Only recently has it become an issue thanks to politics and those that would like to see a resurgence of religious fundamentalism. I really have to believe that if there are people out there that have the luxury of making this issue their focus, they do not have any real concept of history, charity or a sense of what it means to sacrifice or even to lose everything you have, including your country. Therefore, to keep things in perspective a bit, we went to the Leonardo to see an extraordinary photographic exhibit, Exodus by Sebastiao Salgado. This exhibit documents over six years of photography, showing the trials of human existence as people are forced to leave their homes and countries as a result of war, famine and natural disasters.

I highly suggest that you take the time to see this exhibit if it is available in your city as it is well worth the time and investment. To give you some flavor for what the exhibit contains, the following images, captured by Sebastiao Salgado from the show are included. These images are also available in his book Migrations, available in both Paperback or Hardcover.

The content of these images are what we should be thinking about at this time of year. Examining my logs, those regular visitors to this blog come from primarily the US, but also from Germany, Finland, England, Estonia, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Sweden, France, Spain, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and Scotland. So, given those demographics and some degree of assumption, I suspect that those reading this have more than enough resources to be clean, warm and satiated. You have reasonable access to running water, safe electricity, a roof over your head and clothes to cover your body as well as a country to call your own.

Happy Holidays.

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