We can’t go anywhere without the sounds of jingle bells, ho-ho-ho of Santa, and the blinking of lights and “shop now” signs everywhere. Decorations of gold and silver blend in with bright reds, greens and even purple to brighten the darker days and longer nights. A celebration of what?
Every year the decorations go up earlier, the countdown to the big day is announced sooner, commercials encourage us to shop early and spend more. But for what? How many are actually celebrating something, anything or have we become so consumed in the commercialism of the holiday we take little time to ask ourselves why?
There are more cases of depression, anxiety, flues and colds (triggered by stress) and even suicide than any other time of the year. We are bombarded with commercials, songs and advertisements telling us how wonderful this time of year is if it is spent with family and friends, if you buy and receive the perfect gift, if you make all the special food, if you go on a vacation with the whole family. This would be amazing but what about those who are struggling just to survive? Who do not even have a place to live? Don’t know from one day to the next where their meals will come from? Have no family or friends? For those in depression who now are made to feel more alone and anxious?
It is too bad our society has allowed this time of year to become so much about the dollar and less about love. Too many people are concerned that it be called a certain name and take offense when it isn’t. There are lots of holidays celebrated during December, many with the same theme of honouring the coming of the longer days. Perhaps it is time we put aside our judgmental views on the right and wrong of Christmas and simply be okay with celebrating or not, the way you like. If people took the time to explore where these holidays come from they would soon find similarities. Why does the celebration have to belong to any one religious group? Why does religion need to be involved? Humans are ritualistic by nature and celebrations are very important to us. They are a time when we can come together, show support to one another, laugh and cry together and show love to one another. There is nothing wrong with incorporating your spiritual rituals and views as well unless you tell others how and what they should be celebrating. Why not use it as a time to learn from one another? It could be such an amazing time of blending cultures and ideas. Why not celebrate the Winter Solstice, honour the birth of Jesus, be grateful for Buddha’s enlightenment, remember the amazing energy of Ganesha, light the candles of Hanukkah or use it as a time to seek out those who need a companion, food and shelter? All of this can come from love. If how we celebrate is not of love, if there is nothing in the season that brings us joy, if what we do doesn’t bring others joy then why are we doing it?
Why not make this holiday season the time you step outside of your comfort zone and do things the way you would like to. Even if it is only to learn more about the holiday itself and what it means to others. It truly is a beautiful time of year. It is a time when we are reminded that Light came into the world to overtake the Darkness. Find that light, what is true to you and help it to shine in your life.