I am tempted to paraphrase the Diamond Sutra and say that Christmas is not Christmas, so we call it Christmas. I do fully appreciate the need for cultural inclusiveness, but I have never really adapted to the American custom of calling this the 'holiday season' - even though it sometimes seems that this is the only time Americans take a holiday. Having grown up in the Judeo-Christian traditions of Europe, I am inclined to call it Christmas even though my religious attachment to it has not extended beyond a few midnight masses and carol services over the years. I am also aware that the Christians just co-opted previously existing rites for the darkest time of the year and attached their version of holiness to it.
So Merry Christmas to all my readers. I am officially off-duty for the next few days; getting my work wrapped up this morning meant getting all the Green Gulch and Tassajara Rohatsu talks onto the website, so if you don't fancy the Queen's Speech, you can listen to Reb or Linda Ruth imparting their knowledge instead.
The picture I put up on the solstice was somewhat similar to the picture I chose for my Christmas card to friends and family this year, since it seemed as close as I could get to a wintry San Francisco scene; here is that picture, and I wish you all a peaceful time over the next few days.