Should a Jew say Merry Christmas to a Sri Lankan?

I have never celebrated Christmas because I’m Jewish. But Christmas has always been a big day for me. My father and my first-born daughter were born on December 25.

For years, we hosted a party on Christmas afternoon to celebrate the family birthdays. Our guests were mostly Jews but with a few Christians. You might be surprised by how many people are looking for something to do Christmas afternoon.

During this period, other things being equal, Christmas was the merriest day of the year for me. I miss that party.

Like Ammo Grrll, I enjoy wishing people Merry Christmas. I also like when people wish it to me. Why shouldn’t Christmas be a merry day for non Jews in this country?

I’ve written before how I regret the role Jews played in restricting public observance of Christmas (e.g., as litigators in key Supreme Court cases). Here we are, living in a country whose Christians have treated us with unprecedented kindness, tolerance, and fellowship, and we show our thanks by forcing the removal of the most meaningful aspects of a holiday tremendously important to them from the public square.

Today, when I set out for a long walk, I saw the Sri Lankan servant who lives next door. Overcome with Christmas spirit and gratitude for 70 degree weather, I wished her a Merry Christmas.

I did it without thinking, but was glad I had. Sure, Sri Lanka is majority Buddhist, followed by Hindu and Muslim, with Christians accounting for only about 7 percent of the population. It’s unlikely that the servant observes Christmas.

But she’s probably the hardest worker in our neighborhood. Barely four feet tall, she does all of the yard work and snow removal, on top of her duties inside the house, which I’m sure are substantial. Why shouldn’t she have Merry Christmas?

How did the Sri Lankan respond to my Christmas salutation? With a wide smile. Her English is very poor, but I think she understood my greeting, or at least the spirit of it.

Merry Christmas to our readers, of whatever faith, who like being wished one.


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