Friday, December 21, 2012

So this is Christmas.

"So this is Christmas, and what have you done?  Another year over and a new one just begun."  John Lennon

Being raised in a Christian family I grew up celebrating Christmas.  Most of the celebration focused around 70 people in one house and more kids than an orphanage arguing over who's toy was the best.  Somewhere along the way we missed the point.  Tired parents drag us home and we reset to our misbehaving ways.  My birthday is January 2, so I would also get my birthday present (usually a combined gift) from many family members.  It didn't take me many years to figure out that I was getting the short end of this deal in the material world.  The whole point of Christmas is not to receive, but to give.  With all of the commercials you'd never know.  I always look at the families who go to the soup kitchen or who take their kids shopping for another family instead of themselves and think, "Man, I wish I was raised with those values."  Don't get me wrong, my family did a great job raising me, I just feel that this would have made me a better person, given me a more rounded life.  I never felt the draw towards Christmas that others felt, maybe it was my birthday being so close, maybe I was just frozen from the cold, maybe it just wasn't what my heart felt was right.

Now as an adult I understand the meaning behind Christmas.  It's not that my family did not teach me, it's not that I was led astray, their teachings led me here. No matter what religion you practice, it is about giving, it is about loving, it about looking forward.  I am a Druid and proud to admit it.  I discovered Druidry a few years ago and everything about it was what I had been looking for.  Today, Alban Arthran (Winter Solstice), is the day I celebrate.  Today is when I will open the cards given to me by my dear friends and family. I will be thankful for every one of them and what they have given me and I will do my best to return the blessings to others.  Today I will be thankful that the sun will set a little later and that today is always one day out of the past and one day closer to the future.  The future that holds a little one that I can teach about giving, loving, living.

To me this season is too busy.  There are too many people who rush, too many people period (if you go to a store), too many who still need help who are forgotten.  This leads to short tempers, hurtful words, damage to our souls.  So for the next week, slow down, look around, and take in the world around you.  Help those who need it, love those who need it, love yourself and remember that you are a small piece of this world.  You are not the center of it, but just a piece.  This does not make us unimportant, without your piece, we leave hole in our puzzle.  Remember that others have accepted that they do not believe everything you believe.  That beliefs are our own heart's feelings and if you do not feel the same way, it is not your place to place judgement on someone.

Tonight I will practice a special yoga ceremony.  I will take in the chill of the air, the love of nature.  I will think back on the year, the good and smile, the bad and weep.  Most of all I will look forward with acceptance, with gratitude, with respect for myself, others and the planet.

So Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas, Happy Alban Arthran, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa ...  The list goes on.  So when someone says Happy Holidays, it is not that they are disrespecting the baby Jesus, they are respecting him by the acceptance of other beliefs.  Bring peace in your heart and peace shall find you.

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