A recent search in a database that seems to reveal the death of my great-grandmother at Nazi hands and a Blog about History post of Nazi "Christmas" photos (http://bit.ly/faAjgn) have inspired my own pre-Christmas blog post today.
To me, Christmas is about all that is decent in this world. It's a celebration of goodness and compassion. It encourages us to show our love for others. It is a recognition of our mutual humanity and an understanding of shared lives, communities, and traditions. Though I only began celebrating this holiday in my own home as an adult, as a child I celebrated with friends and neighbors. I remember decorating my friend Bobby's Christmas tree and walking through the snow to Beth's house on Christmas to share her mother's fabulous baked goods. I remember admiring the Christmas tree and menorah side-by-side at the mall. In my community growing up, the dominant religions were Catholic and Jewish. We respected each other's beliefs, went to separate places to worship, and shared each other's holidays in small ways -- with an air of respect and friendship.
Our archives remind us of humanity's struggles. Many unhappy events have occurred in the name of religion. This hits very close to home for me. Much of my mother's family perished in the Holocaust. It was senseless and horrible and crashes greatly with what I recognize in my fellow man. We are diverse and we have the capacity to respect this diversity.
This Christmas, I am reminded of all that I like about my adopted traditional celebration and wish my readers a season of joy, love, and understanding. May you find happiness no matter what you believe. May you create wonderful family and community memories that you document with care. Show the world and humanity's future what is good about the twenty-first century and its people.