Several years ago it came to my attention that saying Merry Christmas was offensive to some people who did not consider themselves Christian. It was equally true that saying Happy Holidays or Happy Solstice was considered a slight to some Christians. It was so bad in my town that two women almost had a fist fight in front of the Bon Ton Store at the mall because a clerk greeted a customer in a way she felt was inappropriate.
It reminded me of my youth in Sunday school when I had difficulty making sense of the “boundaries” between religions. I was informed that some people hated each other because of the color of their skin or the religion they practiced. To me, the message of Jesus was to love each other and help each other. For that matter, the message in all major religions is to love and have compassion. The details beyond that seemed insignificant to me. Nature comes in so many diverse shapes, colors, sizes, and expressions that diversity seemed like part of the Divine Plan in my eyes.
Life is so precious, and while we each have our beliefs, and views and comfort zones – all beautiful in their own right – it is my wish for the new year that our hearts grow bigger – like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas – so big, in fact, that we let go of fear (the bigger evil) and see the beauty in our diversity and differences so we may love beyond limits with compassion, consideration, and peace. May we see the common threads that bind us and applaud every effort to love, regardless of the package that it is wrapped in.
May your holiday season – no matter how you celebrate it – ease your suffering, bring peace to mind, body, and spirit, clarify your questions, open up your heart, provide time for rest, renewal and reflection, and be a time for the birth of new things within and around you. May you be surrounded by the light of Divine Love and Protection, today and all days.
Blessings to Everyone!
MORE INFORMATION AND A FEW THOUGHTS TO SHARE
During the month of December, most religious holy days are linked in some way to the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. On that day, due to the earth’s tilt on its axis, the daytime hours are at a minimum in the Northern hemisphere, and night time is at a maximum. (In the southern hemisphere, the summer solstice is celebrated in December, when the night time is at a minimum and the daytime is at a maximum. SEE our blog entry December 2009 for more on this.)
This is a time of the return of the “Sun” – the life-sustaining light – to ensure life would continue on earth. It was the perfect time also to celebrate the coming of the “Son” of God, the birth of Jesus, for Christians, as the coming of the light and promise of eternal life. There are so many other celebrations and beliefs that center around this time in almost every culture. It is a rich and vibrant time of inspiration for all people. (One resource is www.religioustolerance.org for some information about other celebrations this time of year.)
I did find an interesting passage on a website called www.candlegrove.com about Christmas. This site was also talking about this time of year and all the layers of experiences, cultures, and beliefs that have influenced today’s celebrations. On the site they reference a book called 4000 Years of Christmas by Earl Count and offer a quote from the book that I thought was quite beautiful.
“Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom? There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our understanding.”
Finally, for those in tune with the Winter Solstice experience, there is a place in Ireland called NewGrange. (For me personally, this is so amazing!!) New Grange is a structure of stone and earth made about 5000 years ago. It is perfectly positioned so that at the time of Winter Solstice the light of the sun comes into a small opening allowing the light to illuminate the central chamber only for a few fleeting moments once a year. You can also find a lot of information online on the subject. One site is www.newgrangeireland.com that has 101 facts about the site. In 2007 the solstice was videotaped and on webcam for the world to see. It is an hour long. Here is the link information.
For the first time, thanks to a clear sky and the efforts of many individuals, the 2007 Winter Solstice illumination at the passage tomb at Newgrange in Ireland was broadcast live on the Internet. The 60 minute broadcast has been archived and is available at: http://www.heritageireland.ie/ The passage and chamber at Newgrange was illuminated by the rising sun on 2007-DEC-21 between 08:57 and 09:15 GMT.
BLESSED SEASON OF LOVE AND LIGHT TO YOU ALL!