Happy holidays to all of you no matter how you celebrate.
Assuming family haven’t been banned from your house and/or vice versa, I hope you have the time and energy to experience the wisdom, knowledge, humor, and support of family and friends and to find renewal in their love and care.
My Celtic ancestry brings me strong feelings for Yule and its traditions. My upbringing brings me similar feelings for Christmas (both the commercial and religious versions.) Your background may lead you elsewhere and that’s as it should be as long as it provides growth and a strong connexion with the cosmic.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of western movies and TV shows such as “Little House on the Prairie” in which kids would save their pennies all year to by mama a new scarf and dad a new hat. Those kids were pleased if they got one gift wrapped in butcher paper from the general store.
I wish the season could more like that where family around a tree and then around a dinner table was far more valuable than $100000000000 worth of gifts. The trouble is, the commercialization is so strongly brainwashed into our psyches that if the resist, those who know us think we’re being cheap and uncaring. So, we keep playing the game even though we wish we weren’t.
My wife and I spent so many years celebrating Christmas at my folks’ house or her folks’ house, that we began opening gifts to each other on Christmas Eve. We still do this even though our folks are long gone. It’s a special time for us and we like it. The day is quiet, nearly asleep, and so there we sit in front of our tree with our cats and a few gifts and a lot of light. Hard to beat that.
I still say “Merry Christmas” to most people because it’s hard to step away from one’s upbringing and switch over to the more generic “happy holidays.”
We put up our Christmas Tree on the Solstice and leave it up throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas. While I don’t expect everyone else in the neighborhood to leave all their decorations up until Twelfth Night, I feel bad when I see people throwing out their trees on Christmas Day as though they can’t wait to get them out of the house.
Several days ago, I posted a Steve Allen quote on my Facebook page, “If there is a God, the phrase that must disgust him is – holy war.” I don’t think any war is holy, nor do I think all the wars of words about appropriate and inappropriate holiday celebrations are holy–or even necessary.
We are free to believe what we want to believe. I think we should be able to believe that without being attacked by the local newspaper, the homeowners’ association, thugs from ISIS and other arrogant belief systems, or by ignorant people on Facebook who think “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a rape song. I do draw the line at one faith’s decorations at public buildings or neighbors who put up so many lights their house can be seen from the space station.
Otherwise, it does my heart good to see that in spite of the commercialism, a lot of folks have found something larger than themselves and their government to believe in.
But why should it matter to anyone whether his or her neighbors believe in the same god or not whether they choose to celebrate him or her in a different way? I see no threat in that.
My views are rather eclectic, but due to the prevailing winds about “how people ought to believe,” I keep quiet about them for the most part. I don’t need the hassle. I do like the magic of the season regardless of how others choose to celebrate it. For me, it’s a profound time of the year regardless of the usual sniping about the Christian Church and secular humanity adopting a lot of pagan symbolism. That seems to bother people. I say, “so what?”
I see this as a time of unconditionally giving to others whatever their faith. I hope you have a great holiday season, perhaps with family and/or travel and/or traditions that speak to you and yours.