But years later in taking my grandchildren to the Common, when I heard Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls and not Silent Night or O Holy Night, I knew I was in the wrong place. I never attended another Christmas tree lighting on the Common after that.
About ten years ago, I thought it might be a nice experience to take a couple of my grandchildren to see a good old fashioned Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the historic Boston Common.
Before the politically correct crowd with the support of the media tried to change the way we celebrate Christmas in the United States, Christmas was celebrated by Christians throughout the Boston area and the country in the most reverential and respectful way.
When I was mayor of Boston, we had religious celebrations of all faiths on the Common where thousands of people would turn out, sometimes in the bitter cold, and proudly celebrate their religious traditions. Yes, we sometimes had a handful of vocal protesters, but they could quickly see that the celebration was about the meaning and joy of the birth of Christ. But years later in taking my grandchildren to the Common, when I heard Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls and not Silent Night or O Holy Night, I knew I was in the wrong place. I never attended another Christmas tree lighting on the Common after that.
But if you would like to be part of an old fashioned Christmas tree lighting, you want to be at Richard Cardinal Cushing Memorial Park (Government Center) on Dec. 12 at 6:00 p.m. Santa, the United States Coast Guard Color Guard, plus various outstanding church choir groups like the one from the Cushing Center in Hanover, Sweet Harmony from Hyde Park, Eastwood Productions and St. Joseph's Choir of the West End.
Thanks to Chairman Norman Herr a fun and meaningful family event is planned for everyone. But a truly special honor will be paid to two friends who worked for the people of Boston with distinction, but passed away last year; Bishop Joseph McGuire of Brighton and Domenic D' Ambrosio of the North End. Father Joe White of Dorchester will bless the Christmas tree.
Let's celebrate the birth of Christ with the traditions we grew up with. Isn't this what we want for our children and grandchildren to experience as well? In addition, we will be celebrating our Christmas tradition in a park named in honor of one of Boston's finest son's, Cardinal Cushing of South Boston.
RAY FLYNN IS THE FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN AND MAYOR OF BOSTON.
Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and Mayor of Boston.