Thursday, December 3, 2015


Less is more
Like many others we're really trying to
cut back this holiday. For many reasons
it seems that things have totally gotten
out of hand. At least as relates to gift
giving! The mania related to finding the
right thing for some special person is out
of control. So much so that many of the
true messages related to this time of year
have been usurped by checking off one's
list. Hence many are questioning what
this season is truly all about. And... some
wonder whether we all need to step back
and take a reality check. How about you?
Gone but not forgotten
Depending on one's faith, the rituals
of December all involve some sort of
higher purpose. Oddly, if one reflects
on the reasons for such observances,
few if any involve the things that now
consume most of us. In theory, each
require that we step back and reflect
upon what life is really about. That
should include freedom, equality,
sacrifice, unity, and much more. Yet
sadly most are focused on gluttony,
greed, and self indulgence. Have we
forgotten the reason for the season?
Saint Nicholas Day DECEMBER 6th
One can't help but wonder how the Greek
patron saint of fishermen became a man
in a red suit flying with reindeer. During
most of his time here on earth, Nicholas
was a pilgrim and a searcher of truth. As
one of the signers of the Nicene Creed -
his spiritual legacy is fairness, equality,
and clarity. Rather than doling out gifts
from a sack, the real St Nick fed the poor,
protected the oppressed, and miraculously
restored life to the wrongfully killed. How
could we have exchanged his message of
peace and love for a trite "HO-HO-HO?!"
Hanukkah DECEMBER 7th-14th
After the Jewish people were conquered
by Alexander The Great they continued to
freely pursue their religious beliefs. More
than a century later, Antichious IV decreed
an end to the Jewish faith and subsequently
massacred those opposed. Ultimately led
by the Macabees they revolted against
persecution. Today a seven night ritual
lauds their victory over oppression and
celebrates the rededication of the Temple
in Jerusalem. Hence this Jewish holiday
is in honor of religious freedom. And not
dreidels, gelt, or seven days of goodies!
Rohatsu DECEMBER 8th
This holiday celebrates the Buddha's
enlightenment. You see, at some point
all of us - even Gods need to chill out.
Depending on how one tells the story,
Buddha slowly shifted deeper into a
meditative state. There he confronted
his true self, discovered the Law of
Karma and other truths, and ultimately
it all led him to Nirvana. So in essence,
this religious recognition is all about
finding TRUTH. The question is do
most of us realize that Buddha never
searched for presents under his tree?!
Mawlid al Nabi DECEMBER 24th 
This Islamic holiday venerates the
birth of the prophet Mohammed.
Most muslims believe he was the
last prophet sent by God. His sole
purpose was to restore Islam, the
unaltered, original, monotheistic
faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses,
Jesus and other prophets. He also
united what was then known as
Arabia into one unified muslim
polity. Therefore many consider
this day a celebration of harmony
and shared beliefs - not shopping.
Christmas DECEMBER 25th
For Christians, the advent season
recognizes what they consider to
be the greatest gift of all. For those
who embrace the concept of God
the Father giving mankind his Son,
Christ's immaculate conception was
just that and much more. However
if one truly embraces this human
diety's message - it's one of total
self sacrifice. Which must bode the
question - how did decadent over
indulgence become the reason for
the season? Have we lost our way?
See the light
Whatever one believes, it's hard to not
agree that somewhere, somehow, we
forgot what this season is all about.
Instead one might surmise that our
focus has shifted from humble worship
to glitzy glamour. Will we ever realize
that there can be too much of a good
thing? The fact is we're already more
than blessed. Therefore if it is truly
better to give than receive, shouldn't
we all be giving our all to some sort
of higher purpose? Isn't it time to stop
and think about what's truly important?