Even if you kind of hate Christmas (a sentiment I understand, having spent several years living it out), the absolute worst thing you can do during this season is fail to celebrate. Whether this failure is due to an embrace of the spirit of Scrooge or simply to our tendencies to go through the motions without looking around and taking it in matters very little. To deny the spirit the release of sincere celebration is only to cheat ourselves in the extreme.
Various things may arise (or may already have arisen) that make this year or this month seem of particular bad character, but assure yourselves that this is in illusion. There is never any shortage, in any year, of apparent reasons to not celebrate–also known as things to complain about–but, if for no other reason, our mental and spiritual health requires us to take time at certain points of the year to overlook such things, to look at the other side, to appreciate those around us, and to fill our bellies with sweet food and drink. To be aware of our connectivity with nature, part of the job description of a wizard and an absolute requirement for being a fully awakened human being, we must mark the course of the year and openly acknowledge the primary influence of this cycle on our lives and civilizations. This is what holidays are for.
I’ve complained before and will again about the lack of importance placed on celebration in our society, but despite the abundant flaws held within the month of December in the western world, I am at least grateful for some low-level tacit agreement that the year’s end (and winter’s beginning) are cause for at least some holiday observance. In fact, as most already know, this agreement has been universal and consistent over the last three millennia at the very least. One can make an easy argument that this is because the beginning/end of the year is a very real thing. It doesn’t matter how exactly we mark the dates of our calendar, nor even how many months we choose to count in a year. Regardless of the fluid measurements of mankind, the sun will reach its lowest point (in the northern hemisphere, anyway), and from there, will begin to rise again. The shortest day will come and go, and though many days of cold likely lay ahead of us, the light is going to grow. The light is reborn. The light has won. Everything begins again.
This is very real. This is not constructed by human delusion or mythology but is perhaps the paramount phenomenon for all life on the planet. This demands attention, if we are to pay attention to anything at all.
No matter where we live, we are not doomed to celebrate a plastic, capitalistic and overcommercialized brouhaha in honor of Santa/Jesus. There are literally dozens of historical versions available for us to choose from, and this wizard also heartily recommends developing your own rituals and traditions based upon what holds meaning for you and what you personally find worth celebrating and how you wish to do this. Especially if you feel any distaste toward this season, it’s time to open yourself to new ways to turn that around.
Some basic guidelines:
1. Remember Kindness. Whenever I am about to talk about kindness, I think, what a stupid thing to even have to talk about. I mean, we should all know already that we should be kind. Not only when we’re in a good mood, and not only to people we like. Not even only because someone might have it harder than we do. We should just always be kind, and always know this. Then I am helpfully reminded by myself that even I forget kindness on a regular basis, and even t he most habitually kind among us can benefit from this reminder. So since there’s something special about this season (or at least something unusual, if we want to be cynical about it), we should use that to remind ourselves to be kind. Who knows? Maybe habits will form.
2. Remember Generosity. This is another one that might seem silly, given the emphasis in our society on the buying and giving of gifts, but more often than not, the most impactful and practical way in which we can be truly giving is with generosity of spirit. Give of your self. Give of your energy. Sense when your generosity is most needed and give–and the world will be a better place.
3. Remember that some of the people are great. They might be your family. They might be your friends. They might be people you encounter on some kind of transactional professional level, or they might be people you hardly know. But you know they’re good, and possibly even great. You’re glad for them. Celebrate that. You know that phone call you owe? Make it. The people near you with whom you’d like to share a table, make it happen. You don’t have to be cheesy and sing about figgy pudding or anything like that, just recognize, at this time when light is at its darkest, that your world would be even darker if it weren’t for the great people in it.