Happy Holidays!

Today is Christmas.

Sunday night was the first night of Chanukah, which will end on the 30th. Kwanzaa starts tomorrow and ends January 1st, and many other traditions are also marking important dates.(Historians tell us that many holidays occur during December and January, not because the dates of the events being celebrated are necessarily accurate, but because we need a break from the dark and cold.)

My holiday wish is pretty simple: A world in which people respect their neighbors–including those who differ from them– and wish them well. A world where we learn from each other, care for each other, and give each other the benefit of the doubt.

A world where that bumper sticker that uses symbols to spell out “coexist” is descriptive rather than aspirational.

I’m not pontificating today. I’m not even going to beat my head against the nearest wall. I hope you and your loved ones all have a wonderful holiday, and I hope those of you who are regular readers and commenters know how much I appreciate you.

I’ll be my grouchy self again tomorrow. Meanwhile, have a happy holiday!


  1. Thank you for the positive message. Respect is earned, not given. You’ve earned my respect for your unflagging love of the law, our country, its people and the truth. I also wish for a better year. I know it’s going to be tumultuous, but the outcome must favor those of us who refuse to be hoodwinked, lied to and abused. Our hearts are full of love. We must all work to begin our comments, thoughts and attitudes based on that premise.

    Happy holidays to everyone.

  2. Happy Holidays to you and your family. Have faith, the younger generation is more accepting of diversity than one would guess from the current noise. Those on the losing end of culture wars are always louder. ❤️

  3. Happy Hanukkah and best wishes for a better 2020 for us all. Your words and wisdom sustain me.

  4. Happy One to all! I just listened to some theologians discuss monotheism and how Jews, Muslims and Christians have much more in common than we are told to believe by those who would divide us for their own reasons. I was particularly struck by how well the Muslim prophet got along with Jews in Medina after leaving Mecca. They had an agreement as monotheists to protect one another! Too bad we monotheists have weaponized the political aspect of religion to suit our own political aims, but we have, so here we are, the victims of an unholy admixture of church and state, synagogue and state, mosque and state, and nothing and state, but today it’s Happy Holidays to all, whatever your expression of the same may be. So again, Happy Holidays to all.

  5. Merry Christmas and thank you for your insight and influence! Happy Holidays! Every Damn one of them!

  6. Wishing Sheila and all of you who take the time to voice your knowledgeable opinions on this site a happy and safe holiday season.

  7. Wishing you a happy holiday season, and here’s to hoping for a more peaceful new year. (I refuse to think about the odds until another day.)

  8. Empathy, compassion, forgiveness, kindness and mercy.

    These are in short supply! This time of year is what folks wait for. Obviously people are looking for something better, that’s why the holiday season gets stretched earlier and earlier every year. That there is something missing, is more tangible than ever. Not wanting to be a Debbie downer, but, I don’t think we can give hypocrisy a pass. The suicide rates actually drop during the holiday season, probably because people pay a little bit more attention to their fellow man. Mercy and empathy and compassion and kindness, seem to be more prevalent, people reflect on their lot in life and tend to be empathetic to those who have a poor lot in life. Holiday seasons are a cause of dread for those who are socially isolated. When people, family and friends, come together, there are those who are alone. Depression soars among the lonely.

    Are we are brother’s keeper? We see organizations put on these wonderful dinners during the holidays, so people can eat their fill. But, does eating your fill 3 or 4 times a year make up for the other 361-2 days? There are so many mentally ill, physically disabled, socially isolated citizens everywhere. Living under bridges, sleeping in vestibules, trying to survive on top of subway events and fresh air returns from apartment buildings. I don’t think the holidays are very MERRY for them. There are some who actually commit crimes so they can eat and have a warm cot to sleep on. When prisons are the largest mental health facilities, it is a travesty. Being our brother’s keeper does not mean putting them in a cage because they have an illness!

    The government cuts taxes for the wealthy, they give corporations tax loopholes where the effective tax is 0 or even -0. All of this self-dealing, without a thought towards the most vulnerable, is despicable! There are very few mental health centers left, they close more and more every year, leaving it for the prisons, which are ill-equipped and not designed for that sort of thing. Being mentally ill is not criminal, and the merciful thing to do would not be putting them in prison but facilities that could provide assistance and make life better. But, money is claimed to be in short supply, because the wealthy and corporations don’t wish to pay their fair share. So the rest of us do what we can do. And most of us, are really tapped out. Especially if we have the mentally ill, physically disabled, dependent elderly, and the very young (grandchildren) that your particular family is responsible for, because there is nothing else. And yet, if you can’t pay your property taxes, they’d gladly throw you out on the street, you and your entire family, then sell your home to pay for those taxes.

    I spoke to Mr. Strickland the local Lake County assessor, and he talked about how sad it is to see all of these folks coming in crying about their taxes. And he tells them there’s nothing he can do, he just assesses their properties and enforces the law. And he tells them to go ahead and try and sell their property because after a year the city or county will confiscate their property. Tea party? LOL, maybe they were on to something, yikes.

    This example is not rare, it happens quite a bit. Soon, middle-class property owners will not be able to afford the tax rates that municipalities keep piling on.

    But hey, at least our legislators are enjoying the holiday season, seemingly without a care in the world (except being primary’d) they won’t be back until after the new year. And that the sniping will resume in short order!

    The startling epidemic of lost empathy is a sad state of affairs. Not every single corporation or wealthy person is bad, and some do way more than they are obligated to do by the law. Those folks are few and far between. Empathy is a learned trait, and the decline of empathy is directly related to the “it’s all about me me me” mentality. The lack of empathy is passed on to the next generation where it becomes a foreign concept. Too bad, this will never change. The average person, is emotionally burned out, the constant barrage of PETA commercials, starving children commercials, kids and mothers shot in their beds from some lunatic outside, being carjacked while getting gas or going to the store, and of course caring for their family members who can’t do it themselves as listed above.

    “Rejoice with people who rejoice; weep with people who weep.”​ (Romans 12:15.)

    “All things . . . that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.”​ (Matthew 7:12.)–Paraphrased.

    Since his time of year Christ is invoked consistently, why not hold those invocations to the fire?

    Jesus Christ said and as quoted in John 14:31 which reads; “but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”

    John 15:10 reads; “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

    John 12:49, 50 reads; “For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto me, so I speak.”

    There is a commandment that we love our neighbor, and we love God with our whole heart. Who was Jesus Christ talking about? Christ obviously loved his father and respected his father. And as Christians, should we not love Christ and his father the same way? And, shouldn’t we abide by the laws of Christ?

    “34 But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, trying him: 36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets. “(Matthew 22:34-40)

    So, I’m thinking, the ones who piously celebrate these holidays, the ones who make the show a display, are condemnable hypocrites. Because you cannot love your God or your neighbor a couple of days a year and then go back to putting children in cages and separating them from their parents. Or making the foreign resident afraid and their lives miserable. Or criticizing and making fun of widows and condemning some of the best among us (John McCain) because of vindictiveness and fear, fear that he (draft dodger)/they would never be able to come close to his stature as a horrendously tortured hero and role model who was not lacking empathy for his fellow man.

    Anyway, it’s time for me to go, I hope all of you are having a great time today with family and friends, it’s time for me to empty the cats litter boxes, clean the rabbits cage, feed the fish and walk the dog, LOL, and of course above all try to abide by my rant, while not forgetting to love my wonderful wife 40 years. I’m grateful my beautiful African Queen decided to love mutt (PTSD and all) like me.

  9. Thank you Sheila and fellow trouble makers for a year of (mostly) civil discourse. To repeat my multiple 2019 messages – let us take this energy and use it for the common good, most critically in 2020, to get people to vote as if their lives, and the lives of their children and grandchildren, depended on it; most especially minorities and young people who vote infrequently and/or vote for 3rd/4th parties, falsely and cruelly believing they will be making a difference.

    May this time be one of meaning, centering of the innate goodness of the human spirit.

  10. During this month of gift giving, it’s a perfect time to tell you you’re one of the best gifts ever Sheila. Thank you for your gifts of study, reflection, teaching, and communication that enlighten us all. Here’s wishing you the gifts of many more readers and peace and goodwill to all.

  11. Thank you, Prof. Kennedy, for the gifts you give us every day, all year long. May those gifts come back to you and yours with good wishes for peace and blessings in the New Year.

    Seasons’ Greetings to all the commenters as we enter the new year. Wishing you all serenity and grace as we enter the next step on our common journey.

  12. We humans are mostly alike but a little bit different. The differences are almost all of human construct. Do we want to be known for what we inherited or what we get done ourselves?

    I wish you purpose all year ‘round and from that happiness will result. Enjoy it. Enjoy life. Fix what’s broken in all of us.

    Oh, BTW, enjoy these holidays too.

  13. Sharing a Christmas story – I was greeted in the elevator where I used to live by my neighbor with a friendly “Merry Christmas” – As is my custom, I returned the greeting – However, I also knew that her door had a quotation from Abdul Baha, the son of the founder of the Bahai faith, Bahaullah, suggesting that she was Bahai.

    So I asked “Do you celebrate Christmas?” She replied “No, do you?” I told her that I am Jewish.
    The humor wasn’t lost on us, nor the more important fact that we were neighbors warmly greeting each other.

    With that in mind, Happy Holidays to all – whatever you do or do not celebrate. And thank you Sheila for creating this space where we all learn and share ideas in a civil, friendly manner (mostly).

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