Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Musings.....Room for Everyone


Even the act of not celebrating by Jehovah's Witnesses is a form of spiritual celebration. While all around them are the colors, music, events and decorations of many different faiths, the absence of these things in their lives defines their beliefs. I find it wonderful in its simplicity.

That is, I now find it wonderful. I spent many years thinking it was weird. Those poor kids never believing in Santa Clause or getting gifts for the eight days of Chanukah or celebrating Yule in a sacred circle or attending a beautiful Christmas Eve Mass! I knew they must be so miserable.

Likewise I spent many years aghast at the excesses of those with over-the-top lights and trees and parties. Stores that began their hype before Thanksgiving were disgusting. Extreme consumerism turned my stomach, making me feel quite smug at my more reasonable approach (although looking at photos of past Christmas mornings I don't know just how reasonable it was). People who go into huge credit card debt to bury their tree in packages were stupid and short-sighted. I knew they were just trying to fill some huge emptiness in their lives.

When I worked for the government I understood the prohibition against decorating for the holidays. Even if your intent is Santa Claus, some will claim the law requiring separation of church and state is not being followed with Christmas decor. However, when I went to work for a private organization we were encouraged to decorate for the holidays, and all beliefs were welcome by the employer. Our official greeting was "Happy Holidays". I knew they were just being politically correct.

There are some real eye-opening moments when you are called to a path that includes taking responsibility for yourself. Among those moments for me was realizing I didn't know squat about any of this stuff. I didn't know a single Jehovah's Witness, let alone how their childhood was. I had no clue what motivated  gigantic light displays. I never noticed how many fellow shoppers were singing along to carols in October. I was unaware of the reduction in the use of sick leave at my job during the holidays.

In the past few years I've come to realize, and enjoy, that there is plenty of room for every type of holiday celebration, including the simplicity of non-celebration. Multiple religions hold this time of year as holy - how great is that?! I'm grateful for those who go to the trouble and expense so I can just drive around the neighborhood to enjoy all the beautifully lighted homes. Christmas displays beside ghosts and jack-o-lanterns is a bit silly. But silly is just funny, not something horrible. Many reasonable and organized folks are delighted to have their shopping done before Thanksgiving, and I think they're on to something there! I don't have to pay anyone else's credit card bill, so why do I care if the amount is high?

Wow.  Thanks for all your hard work!

Finally, being "politically correct" is like so many things that start out with good intentions, and get abused by a few over-zealous folks. Not using slurs to describe someone or their religious beliefs or cultural practices is common courtesy. Giving up any non-harmful practice because someone might be offended isn't even common sense.

A loving greeting is not offensive

It's easy to find fault with the actions of others without taking a look at our own. I was certainly guilty of that for years. Today I find myself blessed with a broader perspective, one that allows for more holiday joy. Sometimes that joy even starts in October.........


See?  Lots of room :-)
 

Even the shortest day of the year is a big deal, a holy day, and reason for celebration.  Blessed Yule everyone - may the lengthening days bring light and love to your life.




 

16 comments:

  1. We enjoy looking at house lights too. There is a popular court in Carmichael known for its holiday decorations. We wanted to visit this year, but got too busy. Perhaps next year.
    Just about ready to go take a drive with Rocky.
    Merry Christmas Jodee and Bill!!

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    1. Safe travels and hugs for Alex when you arrive! I'm sure Rocky will make an excellent co-pilot :-))))

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  2. Beautifully said. Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thank you :-) Merry Christmas to you as well.

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  3. Very true. Merry Christmas and enjoy this In-Between time. I wonder what you'll be doing next Christmas?

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    1. Thanks Debbie - to you and Steve as well! Believe me, we are already tossing several ideas around for next year's holidays :-)

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    1. LOL! Happy Merrimas to you and Nick and the furkids!

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  5. Let's celebrate it all! Happy, Merry, Blessed holidays. Whatever brings people joy and inspires generosity and goodwill can only be beneficial.

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    1. Absolutely! How much happier a world if we all celebrated each other :-)

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  6. Jodee, this was wonderful! I do think many of us can look back and see how our own idea of celebrating the holiday changed with time. I must say I enjoy looking at other peoples hard work with decorating for the holidays and I am thankful that they took the time for us:)

    So let the days lengthen!! I am very ready!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family:)

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    1. To you and John and family as well :-)

      Oh yes, my celebration has definitely changed over the years! I've really seen that in the photos I'm going through.

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  7. We all have our beliefs, feelings and things we like to celebrate. I think whatever the holiday we all should be able to celebrate as we believe in our own hearts. The exclusion is something I'm not happy with to appease other beliefs. You are right, there is room for everyone. Being politically correct at times is being wrong. Enjoy your holiday period no matter your beliefs but from us, Merry Christmas.

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    1. Thanks Jeri - a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      I agree it is the exclusion that makes me the most uncomfortable around something that should be so joyful :-)

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  8. Really well written Jodee. Inclusion is the reason I like Happy Holiday sot hat whatever you holiday is, you are included. Not everyone celebrates a Merry Christmas. Happiest of Solstices and Holidays to you.

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    1. To you and David and Carrie as well :-)))))) So glad you are all able to be together in warmer weather - hope you get some great beach time!

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