This is obviously a very special day. We’ve been fortunate enough to celebrate the season in many ways. Last night we celebrated a Peruvian Christmas with very dear friends, some of whom were immigrants, one who lived with us while attending college. In the Peruvian tradition we were supposed to wait ‘til after midnight to eat and share presents but the children made fast work of that!
A few nights ago, we took part in the Persian winter solstice celebration of Yalda with another group of friends, immigrants and proud Americans.
We’ve already celebrated the eight nights of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, a holiday that became a bit bittersweet when my dad died on the first night of Hanukkah some years ago. And before my in-laws passed, around that same time, we used to drive down to North Carolina for Christmas, a delight for the adults which they made totally overwhelming for the grandchildren.
Here in Albany, our daughter used to play with the Empire State Youth Orchestra for Melodies of Christmas – I still have the sweatshirt!
One of the members of the North Carolina part of our family made her career directing 911 emergency response teams to scenes of distress and we quickly learned how hard that was around Christmas because the tragedies she had to deal with seemed that much harder during the holidays.
So, let’s include everyone with words from Pete Seeger’s Letter to Eve:
We' got to get aworkin' on buildin' … a decent home for all o' God's children!
Four thousand languages in this world, means the same thing to every boy and girl
Oh-oh Pacem in Teris, Mir, Shanti, Salaam, Heiwa!
Peace, for everyone.
Steve Gottlieb’s latest book is Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and The Breakdown of American Politics. He is the Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Albany Law School, served on the New York Civil Liberties Union board, on the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Iran.
The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.