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(substitute your faith of choice for â€œXâ€)
I love the Xmas season.
For me, this is the time I can use my fireplace in Southern California without guilt and reflect on the wonderful memories of the past 12 months.
The fact that we have a big Santa-based holiday to enjoy on Dec 25th makes it all the better. I say â€œSanta-basedâ€ because there seems to be much more energy invested in gift giving & decorating than anything Christ-focused. I donâ€™t say that critically! In fact, itâ€™s a shame this season still has the attachment to a specific faith. It would be great to be able to enjoy a celebration of love without feeling like it was excluding Jews, Hinduâ€™s or Ninjas.
Not to be a blasphemous Scrooge, but does anyone else find it ironic that people celebrate the birth of Jesus (a man who said worldly possessions could keep one out of Heaven) by buying each other material goods? Itâ€™s totally backwards. Shopping for Jesus is like Killing for Christ. Itâ€™s like weâ€™re living through the â€œCommerce Inquisition.â€
Of course, to most people (myself included) Jesus is not the main reason for the season.
For many, it is the time of year when we see family.
For others it is the only time we can get peppermint ice cream.
For retailers, it is the time to fill their trees with enough nuts to survive the lean months.
For eggnog & fruitcake fanatics, the month of December is a time of Burning Man-esque indulgence.
For all of us, it can be a time when, no matter what terrible things are happening in the world, we put up shiny lights, dress up pretty packages, sing terrible old songs about mutant reindeer, and try to look on the bright side of things.
Before you attack my heathen thoughts, know that much of my appreciation and love of the holidays I learned from my Grandpa â€“ the most Christian man Iâ€™ve known. To him, the holidays was another profound opportunity to focus on our blessings.
You know what Grandpa gave his grandkids for Xmas the last few years of his life? Farm animals. Yep, he purchased goats for impoverished 3rd world families in our name. One year, he even bought a woman out of slavery in Thailand. (That was a weird one to explain, â€Grandpa bought me a baseball mittâ€¦and a Sex Slave.â€)
I guess my point is that the reason for the season is un-important.
Just as the name of your prophet or mentor is unimportant.
What matters is the Love – how we feel and how we treat each other.
So as I reflect on the past year, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the love in my life, and the love I experience in the world.
This wonderful year-end season gives us permission to forget the darkness in the world and focus on the light â€“ whether that be a new-born baby, longer days, or a fresh start in a new year.
The weather outside may be frightful. But the fire is so delightful.
Thanks for being part of the warmth that makes MY life so delightful.
-john halcyon styn