Over the last few weeks, I've watched the Christmas decorations go up at the campus where I serve as President. Clearly these are traditions that have been in place long before my arrival. But after everything was in place, I asked someone, "Where is the Hanukkah stuff?" I was greeted with a blank stare. "How about the Kwanzaa stuff?" Another blank look.
I decided that I was probably being unfair, so I decided to go purchase some "stuff" and just inject it into the decorations. I went to Wal-Mart. I went to Hallmark. I went to Lowe's. I went to Garden Ridge. I even went to Cracker Barrel. (Hey! Sometimes they have good stuff in there! I found an Elvis Christmas tree ornament to send to friends in Phoenix!)
Anyway, I didn't find anything. Today at work, I asked a Jewish co-worker where I could find Hanukkah "stuff". She replied, "Walgreen's". No kidding. So I suppose I will go look for a Walgreen's.
I hope I am not making a mistake. I do not want anyone to feel uncomfortable, but I want all students, staff and visitors to feel that they are welcome and celebrated in our building. And I want us to all feel that we are the kind of people who welcome all people - regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic background, gender, sexual orientation, etc. To me, this is the main message that Jesus taught - all are welcome.