Rumor has it the Grinch is back to his old tricks again, only this time he wants to remove an important syllable in Christmas – Christ.

For nearly 1,700 years, the world has been celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Throughout time there have been plenty of people celebrating this day who didn’t share the same beliefs as Christians, but with the common thread of love and peace, we have always rejoiced together, regardless of who, or what, one may worship.

I’m not saying I expect everyone to believe what I believe. One of the things I admire most about our country is the ability to function as the largest melting pot on the planet. Long ago we accepted the challenge to adopt each other’s customs and cultures, and in doing so, we’ve taught our children to love thy neighbor – regardless of whether they look or act like their own family.

After all this time and energy we’ve spent making America the land of the free, the land of the many and the land of diversity, why do some feel it necessary to question or change traditions? Why can’t we just add to them? The Christmas season gives us the chance to celebrate our heritage and beliefs with others, and in return, we should do the same when it’s a holiday we may not understand.

My nephew has been married to his wife, a Muslim, for more years than I want to admit, since it will make me feel old. When they celebrate Ramadan – 30 days of fasting for Muslims – we, as their family, may not participate or even understand, but in respect for this tradition we accept and acknowledge their festivities. During Ramadan, the fasting is from sun up to sun down. Would it be appropriate to plan a family dinner at noon, knowing they can’t eat with us? No. Out of respect, we don't ask them to change their tradition. We adapt to theirs and eat our meal together after the sun goes down. 

The comfort and joy of having our freedom is we can all sing to a different tune if we choose to. Wouldn’t we sound better if we all sang off the same page, even though we may all sing it differently?

I will continue to say merry Christmas, but will also accept happy holidays if that’s what others choose to say. I don’t believe those around us, who are not Christians, truly expect us to give up the Christ in Christmas, so we should not expect them to give up saying happy holidays.

When I tell someone merry Christmas, I’m sharing the love I know to be true and that love is unconditional, regardless of whether or not they believe. That’s the beauty Christmas is made of and the miracle it presents to all of us.

Christmas brings a sense of happiness, love and peace. Regardless of which salutation you choose to use, which reason for the season you may embrace, make it count. Make a miracle.

Merry Christmas.

Sandy Turner is a GateHouse Media columnist.