Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Wishes

Christmas to me is the most wonderful time of the year. No, not because of the reason you think. Sure I love to give gifts & getting them is fun too but for me this time of the year is about love. People, in general, are more loving this time of the year & I love to see more love in the world. As I've written before, to me love is the answer to everything we need.

So in my last blog before the holiday I want to expand your thoughts beyond what you may know. To some Christmas is a difficult time of the year because they aren't Christians. I want to open your mind to the other religions in the world, each of which has a celebration in this general time of the year. I believe we need to let go of our differences & embrace the commonality that we all have in deep belief's & in love.

So let's begin with Christmas the celebration of the birth of Christ except his actual birthday is now believed to be more likely the end of September based on the calenders of the time & the positions of the stars that were noted. The reason we celebrate Christmas in December is mostly because of two ancient traditions around the same period of time. The first is the Pagan/Wiccan tradition of the winter solstice, also called Yule. This tradition was celebrated for centuries before "Christmas" & many of these traditions were brought into the "Christmas" celebration to more easily get Pagan's to convert. These traditions include the "yule log" & the giving of gifts.

The next tradition that "Christmas" was based on is the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah or the festival of lights. Since many Christians were Jewish to begin with & Hanukkah is generally celebrated near what is now Christmas it was easy to link these holidays through the idea of giving gifts. The actual dates of Hanukkah vary because it's based on the Hebrew calender not the Gregorian calender.

The Hindu's have a celebration of Makar Sankrant which is very much like the Pagan winter solstice celebration. This festival celebrates the suns return to the northern hemisphere & is generally celebrated the first pasrt of January. In the Buddist tradition we have Rohatsu which is celebrated on the 8th of December & celebrates the enlightenment of Buddha.

The Muslim's celebrate two holidays which vary in dates from Nov - Jan. The first Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice is to celebrate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son to God & is celebrate by spending time with family & giving thanks for having food & a roof over their heads. The 2nd is Al-Hijra or Muharram is a celebration of Muhammad emigrating from Mecca to Medina.

Finally, the newest celebration around the Christmas holiday is; Kwanzaa,which began in 1966. Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed.

All of these celebrations are wonderful traditions in each of the major religions. By understanding the traditions we share with everyone & letting go of the differences we can all love & respect each others traditions.

Open your heart to love, let go of judging or labeling of others. Embrace the traditions we have in common & understand that if we all love just a little bit more the world would be a better place. What a great time to start loving more! Enjoy your holiday. I'll be back on Monday.

Much love to all,


Quote of the day: "Celebrate the season of love by letting go of differences & embracing more love in your life."


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Canyn said...

What a wonderful post, Bill! You give a new perspective on what this time of year means to so many around the world. I teach about the cultural aspects of several winter holidays to my kids at school - so no one is left out. I think I will follow your lead and start promoting the charitable, compassionate, Love and Gratitude centered aspects of all the holidays. If we focus on the Love, there is really no difference except the trimmings!
Thanks so much! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Timberwolf123 said...

Nearly all religious traditions involve love & forgiveness. I took comparitive religions in both High School & College & I'm always amazed at how small the differences are between what we all believe. I love with an open heart & accept people for what they believe & who they are. I only ask the same in return.



inspirationguy said...

Really interesting post, Bill. I agree that the differences between us all are thinner than the finest hair. When people focus on them instead of the similarities, we all lose out. Only one thing I would add to your post is a mention of all those who don't have religious beliefs. People are basically decent and we all enjoy sharing the joy and celebratory atmosphere of Christmas.

Best wishes to all at this time of year!