Today I'm grateful for the holiday season.

Halloween seems to be the unofficial kickoff for the next to months of celebration. Traditionally--regardless of political or religious affiliations--this is a time for families to gather, for friends to reach out to each other, for giving, and for gratitude for all that we have. It distresses me that too many people--even those who often talk about "the reason for the season"--choose to focus upon inane details instead of the reason. The most basic reason for Christmas is love. It's companions are peace, charity and faith. Those ideas are not exclusive to one religion, nor can they be monopolized by a single denomination. Between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15 there are 29 holidays celebrated by 7 of the world's major religions. The key word is "celebrated." Merriam-Webster includes four important areas in its definition of celebrate. They include an enjoyable event, praise, honoring and ceremony. When it comes to the holiday season that is upon us, I would include gratitude, graciousness, respect and acceptance. Those, after all, are the traits exemplified by the man Jesus, who entered this world as a gift of love. He shared that love with everyone he met: Jews, Gentiles, Believers, Non-Believers, Women, Men, Old, Young, Able-bodied and Ailing. Shouldn't we honor him by doing the same? Happy Holidays!