As we troop across acres of parking lots and pile into big box stores crammed with harried and hostile shoppers, it’s all too easy to forget the true purpose of the season. But this is a time of year when our differences pale in comparison to our shared, human spirit – our common desire for peace, joy and love.
The holidays through history
For as far back as the history books go, the time around the Winter Solstice was a potent time for celebrations in the northern hemisphere. At this darkest, coldest part of the year, the Winter Solstice finally appears, and the days begin to grow longer and lighter. For ancient peoples who were wholly dependent on nature for their survival, it was important to celebrate the seeming miracle of light gaining strength over darkness. It was a time of hope.
Later on, the Romans honored this season with a celebration of light and a week of gift-giving called the Saturnalia. Presents were brought from house to house with singing, which is probably the root of caroling. At roughly the same time each year, the Jewish people celebrated Chanukah, a festival of lights symbolizing renewal. Eventually, the Christian church fathers chose this popular, traditional time to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child – not because it was the actual day but to overlay the existing holidays. In India, the Hindu celebration of Diwali, the Feast of Lights is also celebrated, though it’s a bit earlier in the year, depending on the lunar calendar.
What can you take from this?
The spirit of hope
Each tradition mentioned above takes root in a celebration of light coming from darkness in nature, as well as in a symbolic, metaphorical sense of new life, new light and hope; and a sharing of gifts with others. They are all an honoring of the inner light each of us has, and the triumph of good (awareness) over evil (willful unconsciousness). No matter how overwhelming the consumerism, hectic crowds and need to please others becomes, if you can remember this, you can find the true spirit of the season. From the ashes rises the phoenix; from the winter comes the spring, from personal struggle comes knowledge and ultimately peace.
Your personal meditation
If you find you’ve lost sight of the holiday spirit, consider taking some time out for a holiday meditation. To help you get started, ask yourself the following five questions:
No matter what our religious/spiritual beliefs, how can we honor the true gifts of the season?
How can we honor the natural world that still supports us?
How can we honor the centuries of celebratory traditions?
How can we honor the human connection between all the people whose lives we’re part of: our families, our friends, our ancestors, our communities and those less fortunate?
How can we honor the simple gifts of nature: life, light, and the earth?
If you take a few moments to acknowledge your relationship with all that surrounds you and that precedes us, it’s possible to feel a humbling gratitude for all that is and all that has been. It’s also a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Working from the inside out, we become aware of our inner selves, our hearts’ connection to others, and in turn, our responsibility to our planet. To honor this thoughtful awareness is the best gift we can give ourselves, our loved ones, and the world at large.
Are you struggling to find hope this holiday season? Let a gifted psychic guide you.
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