It’s that time of the year: a favorite to some and the least favorite to others. But most people either love it or hate it, with little middle ground. Nevertheless, it is without question, the most popular time of the year. Think about it . . . the fall and winter season begins with “All Saints Day” (aka Halloween). Then we move into Thanksgiving-a wonderfully symbolic holiday. And then, it’s Christmas time. In fact, it’s Christmas even if you are not a “Christian,” as pagans have always understood the “new birth” significance of the winter solstice (aka Christmas). Finally, we have New Year’s Day-a wonderful metaphor for starting a new life-especially given that you have just symbolically birthed the Christ within.
With all this great symbolism and potential for personal transformation, why do some people resent the holidays? Well, there are many reasons. For some it’s religious prejudice. For others it’s due to being burned out by the hype and commercialism that has perverted the true meaning of these once Holy-Days. For example, it’s funny how we place the same guilt projections onto Santa Claus as we do onto God. We are told as children that we can only get a nice gift if we are good, and of course Santa (like God) knows when we’ve been good or bad-“so be good for goodness sake.” In fact, according to one song, you better not pout, shout, or cry, cuz’ Santa Claus is coming to town and you’ll get nothing if you haven’t been perfect! So watch out! It’s as though Santa is not really some symbol of an angel or miracle worker but more like a pastor in a fundamental Christian church who is trying to add another layer of guilt and shame to an already negatively saturated human race.
In everyone’s personal battle for their soul, guilt is the soldier of fear and it uses the sword of shame to disarm you. Even when you’ve done no wrong, because you have such a core level of guilt and shame, you will be tempted to doubt yourself. Once, at a high-security celebrity event, I didn’t want to partake in the dinner and left my table to sit in a corner and eat some cookies I had stashed in my coat pocket. This must have looked a little sneaky to the guys with radios in their ears because they started stalking me. At any rate, just when I was leaving the party, the security guys descended on me to search me. Of course, they found nothing and were in fact surprised at how cooperative I was. Nevertheless, when they gave a report to their boss, I was told later that he determined that I still “MUST have been guilty and hiding something.” When I asked how they came to this conclusion, I was told that it was because I was “being too nice” and “didn’t resist or put up a fight.” Hmmm . . . Now I know that my mind often works in reverse to most people in this world, but I was a little bewildered by this sort of thinking: My loving response made me guilty? Wow! The bottom line is that even when you do what you feel is right (nice), there are plenty of folks who are ready and willing to project their issues to make you wrong (naughty) and unworthy of the gifts that God wills for you. In such times, remind yourself that “God is the Loving Voice that is your Strength and your Guide.” Then, commit to doing what seems like the most loving thing to do (in the big picture-not just a quick fix) and let the cards fall where they may. Others may still find you guilty (or wrong), but this is usually their own stuff being projected onto you. What if they are convinced their attack on you is righteous? Well, if it’s so righteous, then why are they attacking you in any way, shape, or form? If they are only coming from love, then all they could do is love you. If they are not coming from Love (or God), then why should you give their angry voice so much power? It’s an insane pattern that you can only feed into because of your unhealed core levels of guilt and shame. It’s like driving past a police car who’s sitting on the side of the road giving out a ticket. Even though you are probably not driving at excess speeds, and even though you know the officer is busy, you will still ride buy with your foot on the brake, due to the automatic assumption that you might be guilty.
Now, let’s get back to the point. This time of year is a tradition that is as old as the Earth. Each winter when things are thought to be cold, dark, and dead, we are told by nature itself, that life is already preparing to start anew. So, to celebrate the birth of Jesus at this time is appropriate considering that he represents the Light of the world being born to save us from the darkness of illusion in which we live. If you feel you have made any mistakes in the last year (or before then for that matter), you could now choose to let go of those guilty memories that haunt you (Halloween) and give thanks from whatever you can learn from these errors (Thanksgiving). Then, move forward to birthing a new self, one that more greatly reflects an embodied Christ (Christmas). Finally, move forward with a greater commitment to living your new life (New Year’s).
May the Christ that was born in Jesus be born in you as well! Happy Holy-Days!