Gimme that old time religion or not…

I’m not a religious person, but I am one who loves the rituals of Judaism.  So, I love to light the candles during Chanukah.  It keeps me connected to my family, to my childhood, to thousands of years of tradition.  And there’s nothing more serene than candles burning in a menorah.  And it’s pretty!

It’s also a good way to be reminded of what this time of year is actually about.  Everyone is running around, trying to get everything done, buying gifts, making travel arrangements, fulfilling obligations, running, running, running.  We get so caught up in the frenetic activity that we rarely ever stop and think about what we are doing.  Whether you are religious or not, whether you believe in a deity (or many) or not, I’ve always thought that this time of year is important, but in a far different way than we’ve come to relate to it.

It’s about giving, but it doesn’t have to be about spending.  It’s about family and friends, but it doesn’t have to be about obligation.  It’s about enjoying oneself, but not about forced merriment. It’s about the turning of the season and the renewal of a brand new year, but it shouldn’t be the only time we reflect or make changes in our lives for the better.   Celebrating the season should be about all of those things that so easily roll off the tongue when we think about this time — joy and peace on earth and good will towards men and miracles — but we should think about what those things truly mean, rather than the cliche of them.

I write this as much as a reminder to myself as anything else.  And with that reminder, I’m trying to take each day of this holiday season to reflect and enjoy and to be open to the possibilities of the new year…

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