I was just looking through my Facebook today and realized my feelings were jumping all around. First, I saw several happy messages about acts of kindness and also ones about cuteness—donations, helping others and some sweet pictures or children.
But, there was also some entries with high emotion expressed about religious decorations in community settings. These posts were about anger that some people would foist their beliefs on others by making the others look at these religious icons and scenes in their own communities.
These different entries in Facebook echo the complexities of the holidays. What do the holidays mean to Christians and to people of other faiths? What to do when we see something we don’t like?
The holidays involve peace, giving and light (light in the Northern Hemisphere). I choose to focus on these elements as the meaning of the holidays for my family and let the other things just be what they are.
Underlying all of the aspects of the holidays is an invitation to live your most deeply-held values. To step boldly into a way of being that becomes a reflection of how you want to live and who you want to be in the world. That sounds a bit lofty, perhaps.
What I mean is that during the holidays, we all are given an invitation to be our best selves.
If you value being social, you can invite people over or go to others people’s gatherings.
If you value generosity, you can double down on our donations—take on a family to buy gifts, clothing and food for; give to the local food bank, United Way, individual non-profits whose mission you support.
If you value tolerance, how are you exhibiting that? Are you living that tolerance in how you celebrate? Are you aware of how others might feel if their beliefs aren’t considered? Can you look at other people’s celebrations and decorations with tolerance?
If you value peace and calm, are you being peaceful and calm? Are you angry in traffic at the mall, are you yelling about other drivers (even in your own head)? Are you satisfied with the budget you set for gifts and remember that it’s not all about the amount spent, but the thought behind the gift?
If you are religious how are you incorporating that into your holiday celebrations? What is the true meaning of the holidays for you?
I think it’s important to remember that we are in charge of our own holidays and we can choose to create the ones that we want. If we are in alignment with our own values and live them, then what others do is less of an issue.
So, create light with candles, lights outside and inside and a fireplace, if you’ve got one. Create peace inside of yourself by living your values, and spreading it to your loved ones. This can truly be a magical time if you set your mind to that goal.
Love and light.
P.S. What do you do for the holidays that reflects your deeply held values? Would you share some of those things with me, by commenting?