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Consider Reexamining the Meaning of the Holidays

by Suzanne Marlatt Stewart

As if we don’t have enough to feel anxious about! The news is bombarding us with the shortage of food and supplies in stores. Also, there is not enough dock workers and truck drivers to deliver items for the Holiday buying frenzy. Could this be a good thing? Has Christmas lost its meaning and becoming focused on consumerism. But what is the meaning of this time of year? The winter festival predates all organized religions by millennia; we celebrate Christmas when we do because it aligns with the cycles of nature and of our lives. At the end of the year, when all seems so dark and lacking in life, the solstice finally passes, and the natural world is reborn in light. The true spiritual meaning of the winter festival has always been vested in the relationships we have. It is the time to come together and reflect on the meaning we have in each other’s lives. With the days starting to lengthen and our focus being drawn towards Holiday preparations, we need to remember to pause, reflect on the year just past, and consider what the year ahead holds for us. In terms of our goals and aspirations, what is our vision for the coming year? Just slowing down and thinking about the true meaning of the winter festival can remind us of the importance of community that the festival has always revolved around. Other people give our lives meaning, and so often we don’t take the time to express our feelings in a positive way or even feel insecure about letting people know how much they mean to us. The Holidays isn’t just a time for family; it’s a time to meditate on our relationships, including the relationship we have with ourselves. To have a good relationship with others, our relationship with ourselves needs come first: we must first take care of ourselves. If we are not at peace with ourselves, how can we be a source of joy to others? By taking the solstice as an opportunity to think about the sort of life we each live, we can gain a sense of self-acceptance and peace that is necessary to openly express our feelings to others. The winter festival is far more than observing tradition; it is a time for new beginnings, a time for looking at how we can enrich our relationships with friends and family. Also, to be aware of others on our planet who are suffering. Use the next few weeks leading up to the year’s end to look at what changes need to be made in your lives to bring you closer to the people who matter most. Our grandkids still talk about two experiences that have had a lasting impression. One was taking them to a rock-climbing facility, where they scaled high walls and felt a sense of accomplishment. The other was an indoor wind tunnel, where they overcame their fears and floated in the air. It’s beyond just a pile of presents. Consider making lasting memories with the ones you love. Rev. Suzanne is an independent speaker and writer. Email spiritualoccasions@outlook.com

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