Originally posted on 12/24/14:
With Christmas on the horizon tomorrow, I can't help but reflect on how the significance of this holiday has shifted for me over the years.
A few years ago I almost converted to Judaism, a two year journey that blessed me with so much knowledge, that I will forever be grateful for. The rabbi I worked with was one of my most beloved teachers in life, and I will always hold the wisdom he gave me so dear to my heart. During those two years I didn't celebrate Christmas, and while I did not complete my conversion - I find myself now in a place where I view the holiday season with an entirely different lens. This IS the most wonderful time of the year, but it has nothing to do with the ritual mad rush to buy, buy, buy - only to give gifts that have "cotton candy" type of appreciation levels. Christmas has nothing to do with Christ's "birthday", but instead is a time where the consciousness of the Christ has an opportunity to resurrect within you - to love all, to give to others who really NEED it, to appreciate family, to express gratitude. Hanukkah, being the celebration of light, is a reminder of these values over the course of 8 days. A celebration of tradition, not false worship of a "savior" - the true savior is yourself, your heart, your consciousness.
The true gift is love, family, and being alive. Holidays are traditions that survive by agreed upon values, rules, and ritual - and you can choose what the true celebration is. I view Hanukkah as the thesis, the celebration of light, igniting/appreciating the spark of divine within you...Christmas, as the antithesis, the celebration of what is without/outside of yourself...the synthesis of these two "opposing" ideas is to find the balance of the light within, by shining your light without, Christ is a concept (not one person, but all), and the concept is embodied by being light, bright, radiating warmth, and helping life grow...like the "Sun of God". However you choose to celebrate, there is no right or wrong - it's all how you view it, but just remember what it's all really about...igniting the spark of divine light in your heart, and loving all as though they are an extension of yourself. Friends, family, even strangers on the street - be love, live love, give love. It's the most precious gift of all, because that's all there really is.