Reclaiming the Holidays

The holiday season is that time of year when expectations can be at an all-time high. There are images of ideal families coming together to celebrate in joy, peace, and love. Then there is the dread of those who feel unable or unwilling to live up to those expectations of what the holidays are supposed to be.

There are those whose loved ones of years past celebrations are no longer with us, or those who are estranged from their loved ones. This can make the holidays a very sad and lonely time.

This year, I decided to redefine what the holidays are for me and to reclaim them, after many years, perhaps decades, of being alienated from the common messages and ideals portrayed.

What I love about Christmas is the spirit of love and goodwill toward our fellow beings. I also love the joy and sacredness expressed in many Christmas songs.

What I have long disliked from the time I was a teenager to the present is the whole idea that Christmas is about shopping. This hustle and bustle at the end of the year to purchase things that often will never be used is the antithesis of what the holiday is to me.

This year I decided to make peace with what the season is for me. I will awaken on Christmas morning alone with a glass of vegan eggnog and the sound of Christmas songs echoing through my home. I will reach out to some loved ones and wish them a Merry Christmas. In the afternoon, I will gather with some friends for a holiday meal. That’s it!

Absent will be the idea that something special must happen. What will also be gone is the notion that it ought to be any different than it is. Comparisons to years past or to what others are doing for the holiday will be nowhere to be found.

Ultimately, the meaning we give this day is fully up to each one of us. What is meaningful for me is to steep in what I consider my highest nature, which is love, and to extend that love to all others. It is to say a prayer of peace for all of humanity, and a prayer that all beings everywhere be happy and well.

That is my prayer for you this holiday season – that you be happy, well, and at peace. And may you claim this holiday season for yourself, unburdened by societal expectations or comparisons to years past.

Enjoy the journey.

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