By Deb Avery
Throughout history this time of the year has been celebrated with numerous rituals, rites and ceremonies. Yet at the heart of all these religions, traditions and celebrations is the simple practice of celebrating the return of light from the dark.
As the nights get longer and colder, we are guided by the promise that the tides will turn and that the warmth and light will return. And soon, the darkest night of the year gives way to a new and hope-filled joy of a new and brighter year. From the ancient pagan traditions of yore to the relatively newer Christian based faiths, all can trace the hope and joy back to this basic human need of making meaning to life.
What else are our traditions and practices if not to reaffirm life and to feel that the worst of the darkness is past and a new, brighter future is ahead?
The simple, basic traditions represents these feelings and the hope they bring. The evergreens represent the sturdiness of the human spirit, staying green and alive even during the darkest of times. The candles, lights and trimmings on the tree remind us that no matter how dark it may become, soon the light will return bringing hope, healing and a new, hopefully more prosperous time.
Celebrating Our Differences
We like to belong to certain religions, traditions and sects and often feel that our way is the “right” or only way of celebrating. But basically, we are all celebrating the same thing, in our unique ways and traditions. There is no need to shy away from certain salutations during this festive time of the year. Instead we should strive to be tolerant and inclusive of others traditions. All are reaffirming the light inside us all.
Living in a rural, Southern community, I find myself often saying, “Merry Christmas”. It is the predominate greeting being shared. It does me no harm and adds to the joy of others. I do not expect a Blessed Solstice, Happy Yule or even a Happy Holiday in return. That is not considered “Christian” in this very evangelical region where only Christianity is openly celebrated.
When I am in the city or areas with a more wider representation of the world, I greet with whatever I am greeted with. Everything from Happy Hanukkah to Happy Holidays, and every other greeting will pass my eclectic lips. For I understand the basic knowledge that we are all children of the light and seeking that kinship that resides deep within us all.
We Are All Beings Of Light
In the past couple of years I have struggled with issues that are in our world today. Inclusiveness, the ego tripping beliefs of those who think their way is the only way and their views are the right ones. What a wonderful world it would be, if not only during this holiday season, but all throughout the year, we could only learn to open our hearts to loving each other and the differences among us.
We are all on a journey. This journey passes through times of light and dark. Both are needed and bring their own inspirations to us in different ways. When we learn to be present with ourselves and life, be present with others, all sentient beings, and life, then maybe then we will find more peace on Earth and goodwill to all.
Happy Whatever You Celebrate! Or not.
I simply wish you the joy and happiness that life can bring this time of the year—and always.
Feature Photo: Pixabay
Editor: Peter Schaller