Happy New Year!
I appreciate those of you who read my blog during the past year, and I look forward to writing for you again this year. Most of you will agree with some things I write and disagree with other things. That is OK. My desire is just that people will read the blog and give some thought to the issues raised and the ideas presented.
Time before last, I wrote about the desirability of Christmas no longer being a federal holiday. Many probably disagreed with what I wrote, and several responded saying they opposed my ideas. But some seemed to have misunderstood what I was proposing, so let me try to clarify a bit.
** I was not suggesting that Christmas should not be celebrated. Certainly Christmas should be enthusiastically celebrated by Christians and others who choose to do so. I just don’t think Christmas should be a federal holiday, as that gives Christianity special consideration by the government in a country where now a sizeable percentage of the population are adherents of other religions, or of no religion.
** I was not suggesting that people should not purchase Christmas presents. Of course, people would still buy presents for their children and exchange gifts with family members and others whether Christmas was a federal holiday or not. It certainly happens that way in Japan, where Christmas is not a holiday but a commercial success.
** I was not suggesting that everyone has to work as usual on Christmas Day. Individual businesses or companies would be free to decide whether to take the day off. I just don’t think the federal government should declare Christmas a holiday.
In place of December 25, I propose that December 31 be made a holiday. That way there would be two consecutive holidays, and when they began or ended on Monday or Friday that would be four days in a row off for most people. And there would be companies or organizations that would take off the days prior to or following the holidays. Thus, there would be a whole week for travel and visiting family and friends.
Perhaps my thinking has been influenced by living in Japan for so long. Our first New Year there was in 1967, and almost everything was closed down for the first four days of the year. Things changed through the years and commercial activity steadily increased, especially on the 3rd and 4th. But still, the beginning of each new year is relatively quiet, giving families time to be together and individuals time to engage in reflection and anticipation.
This year here in the U.S., everything was pretty much back into full swing by January 3. Regardless, I hope you had time to celebrate the arrival of the new year in a meaningful way, and I pray for your health and happiness throughout 2011.