Symbols of the Holiday Season
Here are a few sections from my December monthly message where I look at some of the religious symbols so common at the December Holiday Season time – and discuss their original meanings.
Most of us with Jewish or Christian backgrounds do partake in some traditions from our birth faiths that this time of the year brings with it. Even if we are non-practitioners, the Holiday Season brings with in much joy, excitement, frenzied activities – and sometimes sadness.
Last year when eating Christmas Eve dinner with my sons it occurred to me that everyone whose birth faith was Christian will recognize Christmas – at least in one way or another – whether they even ever were practitioners or not. Although Hanukkah is not a main Jewish holiday, some non-practitioners born into the Jewish faith may also identify the season in their own way.
At the time the thought that came to me was that even a drunken person sitting at a bar alone at Christmas with no friends or contact with their family would at some point likely raise a glass to the person sitting beside him or her or to a passerby and say in a drunken slur, “Merry Christmas,” or some Holiday greeting.
There is a lot hype around the Holiday Season that is responsible for much of the focus on the externals of Christmas. But the season also brings with it much goodwill towards people – especially to those in need.
And unless we are overworked, get completely stressed out about it all, or are simply a bah-humbug person, it is a happy time with lots of good wishes all around and many fun-filled activities and gatherings.
It is our familial, generational, and cultural backgrounds
that keep us tethered to the traditions and symbols we hold dear.
The generations and centuries our ancestors spent commemorating these holy days is held in our cellular memories, and our cellular memories affect our DNA. This is why it is almost impossible to be completely non-affected by faith-based holidays.
And although the religious meaning of Christmas is to commemorate the birth of Christ, there are many Christmas traditions and symbols that don’t have a religious or spiritual meaning, like Santa Claus, but there are also many others that unbeknownst to us do.
The wreaths and evergreen Christmas trees, as well as the angel atop the tree are part of Christmas traditions that have deep spiritual meanings than many of us have lost touch with.
And in both Christianity and Judaism the giving of presents and the use of lights and candles have been a consistent symbol of the holy seasons.
To read the rest of the message – and/or to sign up for my future newsletters see here
©Rosemary McCarthy, December 15, 2019.
To read about my books on our personal, spiritual, and cosmic journeys to peace, see here for Your Journey to Peace … and here for Why We Are the Way We Are (Book 1 of 3, in my ‘Our Journeys to Peace’ Series. (Cover images below).
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