Balance & Lifestyle / Celebrations / Communication / Holiday Gift Giving Guide

Putting the Holy Back in Holidays


By Asha Praver
Holy Days
The word “holiday” evolved from the words “holy day.”  Holiday is about vacation and escape. Holy Day has an entirely different connotation. This holiday season is so fraught with uncertainty many do not feel like celebrating. Perhaps instead of trying to make these days “jolly,” we should try to make them “holy.”

It is a question, rather, of where we think our happiness comes from. In these decades of ever-increasing wealth and ever-increasing consumption, our very definition of happiness has become hopelessly entangled with buying and owning material things.

In this time of economic uncertainty, shall we be dragged kicking and screaming away from our materialistic habits, or shall we embrace — at least with courage, better still, with enthusiasm — a new possibility?

1. Embrace the idea of God. The word “God” in English is unfortunate in that it has no specific meaning. God is not anybody’s dogma or creed. God is an experience of our own bliss nature. Let that be the holiness we strive for this Holy Day Season.

2. Give God a chance to speak to you.  Allow quiet to enter your life and the life of your family. We’ve become addicted to the constant stimulation of sound and images. Make it a Holy Day experiment. If you can’t simply be alone with your thoughts, use the time to read uplifting books, or to read aloud with your family.

3. Spend time outside, every day. Day or night, look at the sky, and take your children with you. Examine the stars (if you can see them) and notice the phases of the moon. Find some large or small patch of nature — a forest, an ocean, a park, a lawn, a tree, a rosebush, a potted palm. Feel the earth, stare at the sky, and watch your breath. In and out. The rhythm of the seasons and the stars are all reflected in the in and out of your own breath. Experience the holiness.

4. Create uplifting family experiences. Let at least some part of each of the Holy Days be a conscious celebration of higher realities. Go to a religious service together, if there is one that inspires you. Or create your own. Tell all those who are coming that you are going to make an altar together. Ask each one, including children, to bring something of beauty or inspiration to put on that altar. Ask each one to explain what he or she has brought and why it is meaningful.

5. Let there be Light. All the Holy Days at this time of year relate to Light. Christmas has the Star of Bethlehem, both Jewish Hanukah and Hindu Diwali are called the Festival of Light. The Winter Solstice marks the passing of the darkest day and the return of Light. It isn’t about what you call the Holy Day, it is how you experience it. Keep Light uppermost in your decorations, celebrations, and consciousness.

About the Author: Asha Praver is a wellness expert trained in yoga and meditation and is author of Swami Kriyananda as We Have Known Him.  Visit: www.AshaPraver.com.

More great holiday gift-giving articles and ideas can be found in  our new Holiday Gift-giving Guide at http://bit.ly/1Z6LSF

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