When it comes to the end of the year and holidays, we sure do get possessive of things. Our Once In A While faith becoming ingrained dogma so that anyone that doesn’t celebrate things the way we feel that they should is shamed and castigated.
You’re Doing It Wrong we shout!
How Dare You! We scream.
That’s Not How We Do It! We cry.
When, really, who made us the keepers of the sacred flame?
Who made us the gate watchers for all things holiday?
I get it, I get it, I get it.
We’re protective of our beliefs and our traditions.
Totally get it.
But the thing is that those are OUR beliefs and traditions.
As someone cannot steal them from us, we also can’t steal other people’s from them. That’s not how it works.
We spend SO much time obsessing over what everyone else does that we start to forget our own joy and merry making.
We forget to celebrate.
Holidays mean many things to many people and nothing to a whole heap of them as well.
Thanksgiving is a time of family and friendship, of food and remembrance.
It’s also a holiday that symbolizes colonialism and the sins of America’s birth.
Me, I celebrate the traditional holiday. Not because I buy into the elementary school version of history. History doesn’t work like that. History lives in the shadows of what we are popularly told.
But the day has become more than history.
It rose higher than that.
So, I celebrate a watered down and cleaned up version.
I celebrate it my way.
If someone wants to focus more on the tyranny of colonialism, then go for it. It’s certainly not my place to shout them down but I don’t want to get mess because someone else doesn’t like how I celebrate it. It’s not their business.
We have a really bad habit of trying to dictate other people’s joy when it doesn’t impede upon our own or really, anyone else’s. It’s this Know It All sort of mentality that however WE do something is the correct and proper way. And then we will shame people for not following whatever code of conduct we feel is important.
Man, we are stupid.
It gets worse when you get towards the bigger holidays.
Me, I love Halloween and hate how suburban America is deciding it’s too much of a bother and we’d all rather do Trunk or Treats. I hate that nonsense.
You do you, boo.
Man alive though, when it comes to how I may want to celebrate the HOLIDAYS, as in, yeah, Christmas AND New Year’s Eve/Day, I am terrible for not making merry in this way or that. And it isn’t as if Christianity has the monopoly on end of the year holidays. There are a LOT of them. To me, I celebrate with the traditions we had when I was a kid. As I have aged I have added to them and changed them around and that’s what you do. You take what you know and make it your own. And if your tradition is about the religious practices you cherish then good for you. Awesome.
If not, that’s cool too.
We spend so much time dictating how people celebrate and honor the traditions they hold dear that we lessen our own joy. And here’s the thing, if you take joy from acting like a bratty kid throwing a tantrum then you need a hug and a lot more darn joy in your life or a better definition for it.
Who care, truly cares, if you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
What does it matter?
If it upsets you then you need to look around and find something more valid and real to be upset about because there’s plenty of stuff to do it.
To set you off.
If you feel like people are taking the Christ out of Christmas then donate your time in the name of your faith and give back to the community. Give back to PEOPLE.
Don’t go to church to honor the holiday, BE the church.
Be the church and go out into the world and preach the word of love through acts, not simple recitations from the Bible.
Yelling at people to do what you want, to believe as you believe, and worship, and celebrate as you do isn’t just stupid, it flies in the face of REAL FAITH. Me going through the motions of pretending I am a good WHATEVER so you can feel good is not faith. Faith isn’t found in a foxhole. It’s found in the quiet moments of the soul where you can reflect on life and the world and ask – What is this life and who am I in it?
And some people will find faith that way and some
But you don’t do anything real, anything genuine if you force someone to pretend they are faithful.
That’s stupid, and sure, it’s a balm for a desperate soul, it feels like a cheat to prove you, YES YOU are a true believer and are good enough for whatever reward you believe in. Swell. Good for you. But that ain’t the Good Work and that ain’t much good at all. Forced faith isn’t faith, it’s survival.
If you believe in what you hold faith in, in your heart, how people worship, how they believe, how they celebrate is nothing. The holidays open a door for everyone to join together in a chorus of song that says Let’s Love.
Let’s love one another, our families, our friends, and the strangers around us.
Let’s love the joy, the sorrow, the triumphs, and the failures.
Let’s love the things that make us so human.
For a brief time let us take in the lights, sounds, smells, feels, tastes, and emotions of the season and let it mean what it does to us – something or nothing.
Look, I get it, the season has become another sales
pitch. Another hustle. Buy a car, a diamond, a doll, a house, a book, a movie,
Buy, buy, buy.
Sell, sell, sell.
There’s something desperate to it all, to the need for Christmas to start November 1 and end December 26.
I get that.
And that’s valid.
And it’s valid to feel like it’s a perversion of what the holiday WAS but the thing is that we make our own traditions and we do it our own way. We can’t stop the white noise around us but we can change how we react to it and how we choose to amplify or dampen it.
We can complain or we can conquer.
Up to us.
And if the holidays aren’t for you, then that’s fine too.
Happily, we live in a world of option and choice and we can choose to tap out of whatever holidays we choose. The people that love and appreciate you will get it. They will understand.
Reach out to your circle and embrace them.
If you have no circle, reach out to YOURSELF and embrace yourself.
Celebrate yourself for all you have been through.
We live in a world of noise and chaos and there are people who live only to amplify that so that it forces out the sounds of music, and laughter, and simple conversation.
We deserve, no NEED things like holidays to remember that this world is shared, that this life should be celebrated, and this future is ours to build. Gifts, food, music, friendship, lights, all of it weaves a tapestry of celebration but truly, all you need to celebrate is an open heart and an open hand.
Whatever traditions you have, whatever things you hold dear, whichever faith you cling to, the celebration, the holiday, is about us in the end, and our place in this world and whatever comes next. Let’s take a little time to marvel at the miracle of what and who we are and let everyone else take time to do the same.
That’s what life is.
That’s what faith is.
That’s what love is.