‘Tis the Season

Posted: December 10, 2014 in Uncategorized
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It kind of snuck up on me without much warning.  I was reading through my FB page one day a couple weeks ago and there it was.  A graphic taken from Pinterest, all greens and reds, announcing in a not-so-subtle way that Christmas is around the corner.


Every year since I was in college when December rolls around I have told myself that it doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore.  It’s taken me this long to realize that of course it doesn’t feel like Christmas.  For me, it shouldn’t feel like Christmas.  When I was younger, Christmas meant months of preparation in the choir for Christmas Eve at church and 2 or 3 (I can’t remember) long but beautiful services that night, which I shared with my grandmother.  It meant getting home after midnight and waking up early with my brother and sister to gifts in the morning and breakfast with my family.  The religious part of the holiday was important to me then.  Things are different now, and the fact that it doesn’t “feel like Christmas” is a reflection of how things have changed.

A lot of people I know who aren’t Christian try to subtly fit in with those who are during the holidays by claiming a kind of secular “Christmas spirit” and by celebrating the non-religious traditions of the day.  Still others have their own winter holidays or spiritually significant days which fall around or at least in the same month as Christmas – Hanukkah, Yalda or Yule (winter solstice), Ashura (Muslim), Bodhi Day (Buddhist), and the 26th of December, a day when Zoroastrians observe the death of their prophet. Those of us who no longer adhere to the religion of our upbringing may feel compelled (by our own guilt or by others) to try to stay connected in some way, but new traditions and fresh ideas can only serve to move us forward on our journey.

As I get older and more comfortable in a spiritual tradition and way of life that feels true to me, I begin to see this season with a more critical eye.  That question of “Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays” that I so often see debated is a no-brainer to me; I choose to say Happy Holidays because I recognize that there are all kinds of people in this world and not everybody believes the same thing. Christianity does not own the month of December (as much as Christians would like to believe it does) and while the wish for a “Merry Christmas” may not offend someone who is pagan or Jewish, it does exclude and completely disregard that person’s own beliefs.  I’m going to choose compassion over shoving my beliefs down someone else’s throat, and celebrate my own beliefs quietly, in private.

I wish peace to all.  I think we can agree that all of us could use a little of that.


  1. clpauwels says:

    My own (grudging) take on the season. Happy Holidays, if you can!


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