This Holiday Season, my significant other and I discussed our take on the meaning of the holiday (Christmas in our family).
We’re not “believers,” nor are we worshipers of the Earth (although much closer to the latter than the former).
The questions we asked ourselves were: Where do we fit in? What are we celebrating? What will we tell our children?
Neither of us are the type to go with the flow or follow the herd.
And so a goal became strikingly clear: discover the meaning of _______________ (insert Holiday Title).
This was not something that could be forced, because honestly, doing so would be too easy. I mean, super easy.
“When taking into account the entire world full of people, we must consider ourselves incredibly blessed for our modern day conveniences. We live in a home, have running water, food, toilets, food, and a lot of freedom. There are people out there living in huts, sleeping on wooden mats, taking the entire day to ground their food into a meal, washing their few articles of clothes by hand. We are living an abundant life. Thank you ___________ (insert Creator). Amen.”
We needed to delve deeper and get more personal.
Late Christmas Eve – I use this as a reference point since “Christmas” is what I grew up with – I stayed up late to think. I couldn’t have slept if I had wanted to. My mind was a buzz.
Two days before I had purchased Eric’s card. It said Namaste on the cover, surrounded by drawings of beautiful flowering trees. Why would I pluck this card and not one of the plentiful holiday cards on the shelves next door?
Because when I saw the card, and I read “Namaste,” I got an idea. I felt meaning. A meaning that could surely be applied to our every day lives, but better yet, to the holidays.
On that Christmas Eve night, I wrote in the card, directing the words to my amazing family of four.
This is what it said:
“Namaste means: The light in me recognizes the light in you. Which is to say, I see you. I respect you. And I will treat you as my equal, as well as remember that you are your own unique entity. You are light. You are the light of my life and I believe in each of you. This is my prayer. What I believe in. I believe in you, us, family; life.”
I realized in writing this card that I had discovered the meaning. It was such a thrilling moment!
Instantly I imagined reading this card at the dinner table during our prayers. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as my inner voice itself was both found and recognized.
Namaste is my new Merry Christmas.
It is as universal as Happy Holidays, but with much more depth. It explores and gives credit to gratification, love, acceptance, and being a part of the journey. Our journeys.
I’m a baby in the big scheme. I know hardly a thing and want to learn more. I want to question my surroundings and evolve.
I said my peace at our annual Christmas dinner this year. Right after my grandmother recited the old standard, “Bless us oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which are about to receive…” When she finished, my family said Amen, (except for me – I never say it out loud I just lip sync) and I stood up. There had to be a voice for the alternative.
I felt anxious, so rather than go off the cuff, I just read the card word for word.
It went over well. My mom said, “nice Katie.” Everyone said Amen and dug in. I let out a sigh of relief and pride.
I did it. Made meaning out of something that has felt hallow for a long time. Namaste is my perfect replacement word/theory, partly because it’s so inclusive. I’m talking to you. Each of you. That’s big and awesome. And frankly, I don’t know much more about the meaning of life than that.
Hope the time you spent with your family was full of love and life.
*not shown: Lucan. He was in Nona’s arms!
p.s. I am writing this post during my “holiday break,” previously mentioned on the BBH Facebook page. During this time off, I’ve reconnected with my creative self! There is so much more to life than Facebook (ha, right?!) and I’m loving living offline. Try it for a couple days. It’s refreshing.
Have you reached deeper for a more personalized and self-discovered meaning of the holiday? Share your story in the comments below!