I have a five-year-old daughter who sometimes "makes mountains out of molehills." She had a complete freakout/meltdown Sunday night because there was a moth in the house. A MOTH. In her mind, it was basically Godzilla, Mothra, Mothman, a black widow spider, and the giant praying mantis from Goosebumps all rolled into a tiny little harmless moth. Perception: mountain; reality: molehill. So, I'm going to say this... (and before you get the pitchforks out, please hear me out) I think we are making a mountain out of a molehill with this whole "Merry Christmas // Happy Holidays" ordeal.

Now, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have their own opinions about... this or whatever. We have opinions about everything these days and social avenues to express them. That's one of those great things about the good old USA. We can speak freely! I just think that we are kind of missing the mark here...

I am a practicing Christian. I have a strong belief that Jesus Christ is my Savior and when we celebrate Christmas in my home, we make it very clear that we are celebrating Jesus' birthday. We give each other meaningful gifts to celebrate Jesus' birthday. We blow out candles on a Christmas cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday. We don't have a naughty elf on the shelf - we have a kindness elf that challenges us to do kind things for others. Even Santa gets in on the fun! I wrote a book last year to explain to my kiddo that Old St. Nick brings gifts to children all over the world to help us remember the gift that God gave us on the first Christmas. To us, Christmas is about Jesus. But, we don't get upset about a coffee cup that covers all holidays equally. And, I certainly don't take the phrase "Happy Holidays" as an attack on my beliefs.

To me, being a Christian isn't about saying "Merry Christmas." It's about honoring Jesus through the life we live. It's teaching our children, our family, and friends about why we celebrate the season and living out those principles all year long. And, mostly Christianity is about reflecting Jesus' love for us by loving others - making sure all people feel their worth.

I believe that God and the United States have one amazing thing in common: they don't force you to believe in any particular faith. Each of us has our own unique set of beliefs and our own path to follow. History is full of humans forcing one other to follow a certain religion and manipulating it to further the goals of a few. I feel blessed that I live in a place where I am free to worship how my heart leads me. I want that for everyone - even if they have a totally different set of beliefs than I do.

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other."

In the New International Version of the Bible, the world "love" is mentioned 551 times. It's one of the overlying themes of the entire book and Jesus was pretty clear about how we are supposed to treat each other. In John 13:34, Jesus said, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." That's pretty straightforward, yo!

It's not my job to judge anyone who chooses to acknowledge all the holidays or tell others that they have to celebrate Jesus' birthday. My job is to live in a way that lets all of His people know they are deeply loved and share my faith with anyone who is interested. It's my job to be overjoyed that I am surrounded by good people who take the time to wish me either a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. And, it's my job to be grateful that I was given such an unbelievably wonderful gift in the belief that my God of the universe sent His only child to earth to be beaten, persecuted, and killed so that I can spend eternity in Heaven.

I think if we all do more of that, our Christmas and entire holiday season will be a bit brighter!

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