Actions speak louder than words
Some of my friends have asked me about this photo and message. The photo part is easy. I used some freeware image programs to create different layers which I blended together. The same is true of the majority of photos I use as headings in the posts. I don’t claim to have any artistic talent or even any knowledge beyond that I may remember from an appreciation of art survey course years ago. My closest connection to art is that I sometimes attend these amateur artists’ shows because I like landscape paintings and photographs.
The message part results from a combination of events. Personally I view Christmas as the particular day along with the days of Christmas. Holidays can refer to any number days where one has a desire to celebrate or to offer remembrance. Many who are not from my childhood area sometimes wonder why All Saints’ Day is such a special holiday for me. Well back home at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church, there is the blessing of the graves. One belief instilled in me by my maternal grandfather and my father is a feeling of obligation to not only respect but to maintain a respectful appearance of cemeteries and graves. Even though that cemetery is kept up very well, many people who are not regular visitors take the time to clean the graves of relatives or others. I can’t explain it, but when I am at a grave site doing some type of work to improve the condition or appearance, I have that same inner satisfaction as if I were helping that person at their home. To me it’s just another time to ponder, let go of any negative or sad emotions, and allow positive memories to expand.
At the Hungarian Presbyterian Church, the feeling about the graves is the same. The difference, however, is that the night has an added significance. The individual graves are illuminated by the radiance of burning candles, placed and lit by friends and relatives. The glow from those candles radiates far beyond that narrow country road in the woods. It creates an environment of reflection, and that reflection of the flickering lights and shadows moving about are a magnificent and serene experience which helps fond memories remain illuminated.
Happy Holidays? Well I find that a pleasantry expressed by another. Merry Christmas? Well I find that another pleasantry. Any day that brings another joy and their sharing that joy via a greeting or parting with nothing more than a smile on their face is a joy for me. I might not share the same feeling for the day, but there is nobody forcing me to embrace that feeling, just like I am not forcing anyone to embrace mine about that day or any other. Yes, for some you might have that excuse of “politically correct.” Personally, I never liked that term because I really don’t understand it. I feel better whenever someone takes the time to say, Hello, Hey, Later, See ya, or my typical Hi and Take Care. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas in terms of exchanges of greetings or goodbyes or just acknowledgments between strangers passing by one another for me is a positive. I simply prefer the gestures more than the silence and isolation of one to oneself.
I remember this from childhood. If you misbehaved, someone would ask “What would Jesus Do?” Just my opinion here, but I doubt that Jesus would ignore or sends plagues upon an individual for saying either Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. I never memorized that Commandment as a child, and I have yet to discover it in the years since and thus the message on the photo.
Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy Holidays to all this December as well as a hope that you experience safety and joy throughout the year even on those days when you do not celebrate any holiday.