The Christmas holiday season is a very emotionally laden time of the year. People are reminded of those they loved who have passed and those others they love who are just not in their lives. Some people are living far away from their family members, some by choice and others because of school, career, or vocation.
The Christmas holiday season can bring to a pin point focus all that was wrong with your family while you were growing up or you may try to believe that your family life was perfect so the sorrow of “what should have been” does not choke the living out of you.
The word Holiday started being used around the 1500s, and evolved out of the Old English word haligdaeg – which simply translated means holy day, a consecrated day, a day where you did not work but focused instead upon the connection you had with your Maker.
Currently, holidays are synonymous with non-religious things – gift giving, holiday dinners, and gatherings for family and friends. The meaning behind holiday is lost by even those who should know. Instead, churches pander to the masses by promoting to the congregation – pageants that highlight children, scheduling multiple services to celebrate the holiday before and on the day itself. Some say it is to allow flexibility for those with difficult schedules to attend. Some say their space is too small to hold their entire congregation in one service that they need to offer multiple opportunities. Or, perhaps it has something to do with the tithes that come in during the holiday season, so close to tax season. Many excuses are used to explain how religion transitioned holy days into holidays. Yet, while the clergy is, by vocation, meant to service their congregation, where does service come in during a holy day?
If we again turn to the original meaning of the word service, which began to be used in the 1100s, and meaning, we will see that several meanings are available. Celebration of public worship, act of homage, Mass, and church ceremony are the common meanings.
Christian religious services in the way past were very different than now. A person was judged for the reverence they showed regarding their religious and spiritual beliefs. Their connection to God was paramount and on display, not coercing someone to fit into their schedule another potluck on Friday night at the church to raise money.
Is that what service is – giving of time to obtain money? Where has the spiritual beliefs gone? To serve means first of all, to guide those you are responsible for helping them develop their spiritual connection to the Maker, to the Creator, to God, to Yahweh, to Muhammad, or to whomever your religion is designed around. To serve their spiritual needs requires spending time with each person, yet how can that be done in a megachurch environment? Do any megachurch ministers even know 1/4 of their flock, or do they just know those who donate above a specific level and the rest can be serviced by someone below and someone below the someone below and so on?
To serve, to give of yourself, to give yourself into the service of God. But who defines what God wants from those who serve? Maybe God enjoys going to the mall after opening presents and eating dinner, doing some window shopping while waiting for the stores to open to return gifts found wanting. I don’t find that likely, so again we turn back to the religious organizations who have defined the rules and regulations that create the boundaries of the religion. Yet, it doesn’t seem they know how to develop that connection to God either.
Centuries ago, a holy day meant everyone spent time in meditation and prayer, searching within to recognize ways to better oneself and identify the areas of improvement,but primarily it was to connect with Spirit and be uplifted emotionally and physically. You were given the Gift of the Creator’s love in return for your service, prayer, and work.
There are many people in the world today who do not view holidays as a day off from work to relax and play, yet it is not uncommon to find similarities in other environments, though they may not be so extreme as they are in the US.
Yes, it is important to enjoy time with your family during the holidays, yet why don’t you reach out to those you have let drift by or invite and welcome those who are alone to your home so they can allow the loneliness within them to fade even if for just a few hours. This year, why don’t you step back and look at how you spend your time? Holidays are not about the food, or the parades, the sports events on tv , nor are they about receiving gifts.
This year, why don’t you try to re-establish that connection to Spirit that exists within you, because you need to recognize and feel that connection desperately. You and you alone are responsible for this task, and it does not need to be a burden. You don’t need to take an entire day and spend it on your knees – a few moments alone with yourself is all that you need. That, and the intention to connect with the Divine within you. Just a few moments and your life could be changed for the better. What’s better – feeling God within you or eating another piece of pecan pie on the couch almost comatose.
© 2016 Julia Knickerbocker ALL RIGHTS RESERVED