Today marks the official start of the holiday season at my house. Since we travel to my parents' place for Christmas Eve/Day, today is when the hubs and I settle in with the kids and do our holiday thing... or at least start it.
You see, while I can't say we celebrate every holiday, we do try to acknowledge it. Today is our gift exchange day. It's when we sit around in our pajamas and open presents and eat cookies and hang out. In short, it's both the smallest and most relaxed party. Then later in the week, we're going to talk about both Hanukkah and Yule. They'll get their annual does of Christmas when we go to church Christmas Eve with my family. We talk about the differences and the similarities in different faiths. (Please note that each of the pictures used in this post are traditional of one of those three holy days.)
My family sometimes gives me grief because we aren't raising our children in a religion. To that, my argument has always been (and will continue to be) that we have chosen to raise them spiritually with knowledge of many faiths. And the best part is, they want to learn. Religion is this immense font of both fact and mythology that appeals to school-age children at a very basic level. As a parent I have three options: force a particular school of thought on them, give them a taste of many and let them choose what they want to know about, or ignore it entirely.
We went with the middle road. My son is obsessed with ancient religions, whereas my daughter is recently very into God. I'm okay with both of those things because they chose them. If and when my children decide to become people of faith, they will do so with the knowledge and understanding of other religions out there. My hope is it will make them better people all around, less judgmental and more tolerant of others.
So today, my family is celebrating the gift of each other and our right to choose our own path. in the coming days we will discuss the birth of the Sun God, the festival of lights and the birth of the Son of God. And we will promise to let our own inner glow illuminate the world in the new year.
With that in mind, I'd like to wish you a joyous holiday season, whatever you celebrate. Light a candle, say a prayer, sing a carol, hug someone you love. It's a season of joy, and I hope it touches each and every one of you.