Friday, December 11, 2009

Fa La La and All That Bliss


In the spirit of inclusivity and celebration I would like to wish my Jewish friends and family a Happy Chanukah. I have a few daughters who are not technically Jewish (their mom - me - is not) however their father is, and they belong to a large Jewish family.

When my daughters were little we would light the menorah for the eight days of Chanukah and hang our handmade popsicle stick Star of David ornaments on our Christmas tree. Their bubbe and zaidy would give them little netted bags of chocolate gold foiled gilt coins and the girls would exchange Christmas presents with them. A cultural-traditional morph of sorts.

My kids and I were never a church going family (for obvious reasons). I was baptized in a Christian Protestant church and attended Sunday school when I was a child, but when I couldn't bring myself to utter the declaration that I accepted Christ as my saviour, and that he died on the cross for my sins - I wasn't able to be confirmed in the church and it ended my feeling of belonging in religion. I always loved the stories about Jesus in the bible -- he was my favourite person and I admired his loving,  non judgemental ways and wise words and teaching (which I still follow)  but I fell short of recognising him as a saviour. It wasn't a stretch for me to marry someone outside of my "faith" - because my faith and sprirituality was and is deeply personal.

I tried to provide an open minded, respectful environment for my girls so they could experience all they wanted from the veritable feast of religions, spiritual ideologies, and philosophies - that they may find what, if any, connected best for them.

And so although Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, for families such as mine consisting of different faiths and cultures, it has become a season of peace; a time to reach out to others; a time to give to and help others; and a special time for our family to come together as one - and celebrate that we belong to something bigger than ourselves.

Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and other celebrations and festivals are a channel for joy, expression and unifcation of human spirit. Whatever the label -- dance in the light of this magical season and shine your love brightly!

4 comments:

  1. Hi Lyn. I enjoyed your post! (catching up again after some days away). My sister and I grew up in a not terribly religious environment. We had the usual religious education at school, though, and were baptised and confirmed into the the Anglican faith. I chose to give up all the organised religion after leaving school. Your last paragraph rings very true for me - I love it! x

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  2. I wish everyone could be as all-inclusive as you, Lyn!

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  3. My mother was an Irish Catholic, who was excommuincated for marrying my English Protestant father. So religion doesn't do it for me at all.But spiritual belief now that is something different. Living a life that follows a way of openess and kindness to others is absolutely vital to my well being.
    xx

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  4. It all boils down to a rose by any other name! All you need is love...

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