None of us has any say about where we are born. It is circumstance alone that make us British, Italian, German or South African. Therefore, should it matter where any of us are from, where we are raised, or our family ethnicity? It is also these very things that determine what language, or languages we learned while growing up.
Just as there are many languages, there are also many ways to express the same things: If someone is living in Iceland, they’ll say “Eigðu góðan dag”. If they are raised in Italy, they’ll say“Buona Gionata”; and when in Germany, it’s“Schönen Tag noch”. Despite sounding different, they are all saying, “Have a nice day”.
If the last couple of years have taught me anything, it’s that human beings are more alike than different. We just might refer to the same things differently. We love, we cry, we experience great joy and sorrow, and through it all, we try to find our way in the world.
It isn’t always easy; we all screw up occasionally, only to dust ourselves off and try, try again. Each of us have unique experiences, but physically we are all made up of the same things: a heart, brain, a pair of lungs, and all the other wonderful parts that are necessary for the creation of every human on the planet.
We embrace other languages as a fact of life. In the spirit of the season, someone from France isn’t wrong for wishing someone a “Joyeux Noel” or a German for wanting someone to have “Ein frommes Weihnachten”. We might not understand what they are saying, yet by their tone and inflections in their voices we know they are wishing us well. We don’t have to understand every language any more than we have to understand everyone’s choices or differences in order to co-exist harmoniously.
Our language and traditions are right for us, because they are the ones we know and learned when growing up. This doesn’t mean we can’t learn about other languages and traditions, or about other religions, if we chose to. If we are brought up being told things that we, now older and wiser, no longer believe in, we’ll cast them aside and incorporate things that have meaning to us in our daily lives now.
Embrace your language, traditions and religions absolutely, and allow others to do the same thing. It fascinates me that for any message to reach the entire world population, it would have to be translated into 7,099 different languages or dialects. There is no one language, and we can say the same for religions. In fact, there are approximately 4,200 religions throughout the world, and it would take several lifetimes to understand even just a few of them.
There isn’t any person alive that can understand all languages or who can speak factually about all religions. There is something for everyone. It isn’t a case of my way is right and everyone else’s way is wrong. That’s perhaps why there are hundreds of religions and languages for people to embrace. Even believing that you don’t believe is actually its own belief. This doesn’t come down to being about language, religion or ethnicity: it is about acceptance of people, and our similarities and differences.
Personally, I love Christmas; not the commercialized Christmas of shopping malls and Black Friday Sales, but simple things like decorating a tree, and that people seem just that little friendlier over the season. Even with our busy lives, we all seem to make time to share experiences with people we love at this time of year.
I don’t have to look far though, to see that there are people who just want to survive another Christmas, or hide under a rock until it is all over. For their own reasons, they don’t like it or don’t believe in it. Neither of us is wrong, it’s simply what we choose. Is this any different from liking the colour yellow best, or preferring a Toyota over a Ford or Tesla? I don’t think so. Each is nothing but personal choices.
As the festive season approaches, I suggest celebrating it. Whether you choose to have a garden full of ornaments for your neighbourhood to enjoy, something a little more low key, or choose not to celebrate at all, it’s your choice. Whatever gives you joy is the perfect thing to do; as long as you do it without hurting others.
For those of you saying to yourself, yes, but what about the people that do evil in the name of their religion or motherland? To them I say, evil lives among us, no matter what that person’s language, religion or country of origin. Instead, let your life become someone’s inspiration. Be part of creating a more accepting world for others.
Personally, I would love to wander through a German Christmas market to admire the craftsmanship of the vendors and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Just being there would make my Christmas complete without a single gift being exchanged. I also hope that not everyone wants this, or the market may be too crowded to enjoy if I ever get there!
In the spirit of this Christmas season, give the gift of yourself to those you love, and to those whom you are yet to know. It’s a most wonderful way to honour the spirit of the season.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, or just enjoy some well-deserved time away from work, I hope that you have a wonderful and festive season.
Author Bio: Maria Skelly
Maria is the author of The Pilot Light Effect, a book chronicling her journey from seeing her life becoming unrecognizable as her health deteriorated, to taking control of her future by rewriting and reconstructing the life she’d almost given up on. Her goal now is use what she’s learned to help as many people as possible find their own best health.
When not exercising, Maria can be found reading a good book by the fire, embroidering, savouring a great cup of tea, or enjoying the sights on Vancouver island with her husband.
Blog / Website: www.pilotlightinitiative.com