Some people think that it might be confrontational or inappropriate to say “Merry Christmas” to other people in case they have other belief systems. We do not see it that way at all. Instead, we consider it to be a well-wishing from others to us, and if somebody would like to wish us a Merry Christmas then we are more than happy to receive those well-wishings.
Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States, and New Zealand are essentially Christian countries. In this context wishing other people a Merry Christmas is culturally appropriate, and makes other people more comfortable by reciprocating their well-wishing “Merry Christmas” messages.
It could be argued the other way – that because we live in essentially Christian countries then we are desensitized to the sensitivities of others. In other words, we at @happy_ops are failing to understand others because we are from these essentially Christian countries. We think this is incorrect on two levels.
Firstly, we are Buddhist and we are not Christian. We ourselves are outside of Christian circles but we understand the sentiment even if we do not follow the same religion.
Secondly, by contrast if somebody wished us “Eid Mubarak” at the end of Ramadan then we would be happy to receive those well-wishings. Not only that, we would be happy to reciprocate by saying “Eid Mubarak”and returning the same sentiment.
Finally, the narrative has changed from a single religion to religious plurality. Jesus Christ has a positive message filled with compassion and love, including generosity and care for the poor. If somebody is on a spiritual path and trying to develop good qualities then we are happy to support them in any way that we can, certainly if it just means wishing them a “Merry Christmas”.
HH the Dalai Lama talks about religious pluralism and the ability to learn from each other’s religion in the article below. We think we should achieve this by actively engaging with other people to understand their religions so that we can develop our own knowledge and understanding. This development is not just to improve our understanding of Buddhism, but to be better citizens of the world.