Ah the Holidays! Traditions that give our existence in the United States a meaning that goes beyond the words we know as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year. And meaning is so very important to the human species…We all know these dates exist in earthly time, and attached to these dates there are national as well as religious and family traditions, but reverence is definitely the central theme for them all.
Reverence is a showing of deep respect. The Holidays during November through December allow us to set aside time in our lives to dwell on this deep respect. But what or who are we to be respectful of or to? Think about this for a moment, if we secularize these special days then why would respect ever enter into any part of a holiday’s recognition or tradition? The truth is, these are holy days and the secular has no place in them.
Oh sure, Thanksgiving can be about turkey, Christmas and Hanukkah about lights and gifts, Kwanzaa about community, and New Years about starting anew. We can even give a “sinister” new meaning to them as Thanksgiving has unfortunately acquired because of our ability to associate current human progress with past human realities…Hindsight is always 20/20.
But a nation needs its traditions in order to build upon its positive communal spirit. And the best way to build a positive communal spirit is to give joy and love to our gatherings. God as the “Great Creator” is the silver lining of our most profound loss and the essence of everlasting Love. To revere God is to give the greatest gift of all which is compassion. A nation that builds upon Godly traditions is at its most compassionate. Secular traditions eventually become divisive because there is no unifying principle to humble the communal spirit. Turkeys, evergreen trees, presents, candles and ball-drops are not unifying principles!
Because God is forgiving, God is for giving. Our nation’s year-end celebrations are meaningful because God has shown us the way. May we be blessed enough to know this Love, respect it, and share it always.