In the spirit of the holiday season, I have decided to talk about something that I find is universal in all religions this time of year. Whether you’re lighting the menorah for chanukah, lighting a Christmas tree for Christmas, or lighting the kinara for Kwanzaa, at the center of it all- religion aside- we are all admiring and enjoying with our families and friends the miracles of lights. Light does not discriminate against any religion, and it is what makes us excited to move on in our life and what gives us hope for the future. During this time of joyous celebrations, whatever religion we celebrate, we all get together with our families and friends to enjoy the spirit of light during one of the darkest seasons of the year. We all enjoy the beauty and the wonderment that is before us whether we are 2 or 92. We all think that the light that we see before us is magical. Light is beautiful and we all enjoy it the same every year no matter how old we get. It brings us back to our childhood, our traditions, and what is really important in life- family and friends. Nowhere in there does it say anything about presents or the importance of presents. Even though presents are, of course, fun to get this time of year, it is the beauty of light and the family memories that we create that make this time of year simply magical.
I have been in 2 situations this holiday season where I gave someone a gift and they said, “Can I open it on Christmas? I don’t get a lot of gifts.” And of course I said, “Sure!” In fact, I was honored! I agree that presents aren’t everything, but I was so happy that I was able to give them something to open on their most joyous day of the year. In the Jewish religion, we call that a “mitzvah,” or good deed. I was so happy to do a good deed, and I didn’t even know prior to getting the present, that I would be possibly the only person who gave that individual a gift that year.
A night this past week I didn’t have much going on, so I decided to just sit back and enjoy the lights of the menorah. I do not do well with smoke because of my asthma-like difficulties, but I thought it wouldn’t bother me if it was just this one time. But, I was wrong. I was up for most of the night coughing, but I do not regret it because in today’s society there aren’t many times during the year where you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the natural beauty with no one bothering you.
My wish for you, as this year comes to a close, is threefold:
(1) that you enjoy the simple beauty of light with your family and friends
(2) that you remember to acknowledge people that you keep meaning to acknowledge by either talking to them or just simply giving them a hug, letting them know that they are important to you and even more important as a person. I don’t think enough people in the world get to hear that they are important, and this has come to my attention because of the recent attacks in Connecticut. I understand that you can’t take people’s illnesses away, but if you just let people know that they do matter and that they are important, it’s better than not saying anything at all. Let them see their inner light, meaning that their heart does shine, and that they do matter.
(3) that you enjoy what you are given in material objects. Let the giver know that you care about what they gave you and are appreciative that they put you on their holiday list. I mean, let’s face it...opening up a gift, no matter how old you are, makes you smile. And smiles are priceless.
I hope that you get to enjoy family and friends, presents that make you smile, and the beauty of light. May your inner light shine bright this holiday season and may 2013 be a magical year of health and happiness for all of you.