Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

December 2, 2021
Can the holidays make us one from many?

I confess, I am a Christian. Christmas to me is a religious holiday — not just a winter break. 

However, I am not hesitant to use the greeting “Happy Holidays.” I know my friends and our community are diverse. There are some that celebrate Hanukkah at this time. Some recognize and participate in Kwanzaa. Some just celebrate the end of the year or the winter solstice. And there are others that just don’t celebrate.

I hope my enthusiasm for Christmas doesn’t offend people. I have had non-Christain friends tell me it’s OK to say “Merry Christmas.”

The commercialization and societal expectations of the season have almost made it devoid of Christian meaning.

The Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum,” which translated reads “out of many, one,” appears on a scroll clenched in the mouth of the eagle on the seal of the United States America. It refers to the 13 colonies that came together to form a new united nation.

The idea of unity emerging from diversity is an old concept. 

Arguing for family and social bonds as the origin of societies, the Roman statesman Cicero wrote, “When each person loves the other as much as himself, it makes one out of many.”

As I have watched, photographed, and written about Christmas events in the community — like tree lightings, nativity scenes, and Santa Claus parades — I feel the sense of community that these common celebrations bring, but I am also concerned that some may feel left out.

I am not advocating for a Christmas without Christ.

My hope is that the acts of service that happen during this season, may, as Cicero wrote, help us to overcome our differences. 

Even among Christians that celebrate Christmas, there are differences in religion, political party, and age. However, as individuals express love for others more than self during the holidays, the differences dissipate.

The end of the year holidays in Tooele County bring out the best in people, hopefully creating unity through service.

It starts with Thanksgiving, when many people and groups in Tooele County get involved in food drives and prepare Thanksgiving meals to make sure nobody goes without a good hot meal for the holiday.

Then there is the gathering of coats, hats and socks to make sure everybody can stay warm throughout the winter.

Then the Christmas holiday season brings festivals, concerts, parties, craft fairs, tree lightings, breakfasts, fundraisers, Subs for Santa, doers of good deeds, parades and other celebrations and acts of service bring people together to celebrate community and enjoy fellowship.

All this occurs as the “world revolves from night to day” or the astronomical time when the world teeters at its darkest moment — the winter solstice — with the longest day without sunshine and begins its movement towards the light of spring.

Does one need to be Christian to hope for “peace on earth?”

Our world is filled with enough division. 

According to a legend — it’s hard enough to tell what is true today, let alone years ago — a soldier jumped out of his trench during the Franco-Prussian War on Christmas Eve in 1870 and stopped the war for a moment with a Christmas song.

I hope everyone, everywhere, takes time to enjoy the season. 

Sip a cup of hot cider with a neighbor. Sing a song with your family. Do a good turn. 

Honor Christmas in your heart and try to keep it all year, to paraphrase Charles Dickens speaking through Scrooge.

Happy holidays to all, and to all good night.

Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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