As the Holidays of 2011 approached my ten-year-old asked me if I would rather celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah.....since I am identifiable (through the eye of formal religious training) as an Episcopalian I really wanted to respond with "Christmas"...and then I thought about it...
I realized it really didn't matter to me. Hmmm.....should it? And, more importantly why didn't it?
For me the holidays are not about trying to comprehend the significance of a birth that happened over 2,000 years ago, or how long a light burned without enough oil. It seems funny to me that it takes beliefs in essentially abstract events to bring out the best in humankind.
The holiday season is about love, faith and kindness....sprinkled with a miracle or two.
The season is about our common beliefs rather than our differences. The common belief in a power (or powers) greater than ourselves--a common belief that we should treat each other with love and compassion---and a belief that, yes, miracles have--and will continue to happen around us--all we have to do is pay attention.
When we concentrate on the small differences between us we allow the the world to become fragmented and polarized, and we move ourselves further from divine intention.
Our world needs to heal. Our world needs to be bathed in rays of beautiful divine light from each of us as we work to channel the "magic" we feel during the holiday season and bring that "magic" into our lives year round.
So, for me it is not what religion or holiday I celebrate. It truly is about how I celebrate God's love and how I make it part of my everyday life.