The Reason for the Season

by: Stephen Marsh

December 16, 2011

Everyone knows the 12 days celebrated in December are to celebrate Jul, right?

Or is it to celebrate bûche de noel availability?

The Winter Solstice?

Or just a pure Saturnalia?

Saturnalia

Or do we take the Puritan’s approach and complain that it is a Papist event that should be celebrated by putting people in the stocks?

What I like best about the season is the historical approach, to quote from the Wiki:

Saturnalia was introduced around 217 BC to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat at the hands of the Carthaginians.[2] Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17, its popularity saw it grow until it became a week-long extravaganza, ending on the 23rd

That is, the holiday is one that every culture invents for itself, for its own meaning and use.

To take this season and make something of it to enrich ourselves, recreate for the needs of our hearts and to generate our own remembrances.

Which is why I celebrate Christmas and the Festival of Lights each year.  To recreate hope and memory in my heart.

What do you celebrate each year and why?


Which festival of lights? Well, pick one. ;)

  • Chaharshanbe Suri, part of the Persian New Year and also known as Festival of Light
  • Diwali, a religious festival associated with Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism
  • Hanukkah, a Jewish festival also called The Festival of Lights

12 Responses to The Reason for the Season

  1. alice on December 16, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    It’s interesting to me that, at least in the Northern Hemisphere and to my knowledge, Christmas (both religious and secular), Hanukkah, Kwaanza and Yule all have light, physical and metaphorical, at their core.

    We probably are much less divided by our particular celebrations than some folks, namely Bill O’Reilly et al, would have us be.

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  2. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 16, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Alice that is a great point.

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  3. ????? on December 17, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    I celebrate my family!!

    I celebrate that we are alive and healthy.
    I celebrate all of our personal and collective achievements.
    I celebrate that we have homes and food.
    I celebrate the trials we have endured and are enduring as
    we have learned and grown in many unexpected ways.
    I celebrate our personal talents and strengths.
    I celebrate that we are different and have much to learn
    from each other.
    I celebrate that we love, support, and forgive each other.
    I celebrate that miles of separation do not “separate” us.
    I celebrate parents whom we continue to learn from even
    though they have passed on.
    I celebrate family traditions.
    I celebrate having hope for the days ahead.

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  4. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 17, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I am glad you celebrate.

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  5. Stephen M (Ethesis) on December 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    I should note that for me, much of the season is finding hope in spite of heartbreak and pain. My daughter Courtney died on December 26 and Jessica on January 26 after a month in ICU. For a very long time the season was tied up with such loss and emptiness.

    Lights were what your neighbors took down for you while you were overwhelmed with loss, presents the things you had meant to open, or gifts for those who never got them.

    Finding joy in the season, and meaning, beyond the context, has been a path with challenges. I guess I did not invite insights the right way.

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  6. alice on December 17, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Stephen, I’m so sorry.

    I don’t think you asked wrong. I just think the holiday’s become a sort of political battlefield that’s left people a little leery of wading in where angels fear to tread.

    Please give yourself all the time you need to grieve. And don’t accept any “responsibility” to celebrate in anyone else’s way.

    When the time is right the holiday will take on a new significance that incorporates every memory it encompasses. I hope it won’t be one day longer than necessary before the light returns to your Christmas.

    We lost my father in law on Christmas Day so I have some idea what the process is.

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  7. ????? on December 17, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Stephen,

    Finding joy in the season, and meaning, beyond the context, has been a path with challenges. I guess I did not invite insights the right way.

    I am sorry for your tragedies.

    Interesting how we interpret words and respond to them. I wanted to say things that I now see are more in line with your intentions. I decided to be literal and talk about celebrating, something that I do not do well with at this time of year.

    If I were to substitute “try to find peace with” in place of celebrate, it would have been much more honest for me.

    My family has endured many traumatic events, as have most families. Peace seems to me an illusion, not to be attained. I tried a different outlook for however long it might last.

    Alice:

    I do not want this to turn into a combat zone. I don’t believe I was throwing out “responsibility” for anybody to “celebrate” in the ways I stated.

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  8. SUNNofaB.C.Rich on December 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    every 25th of December I congratulate myself on how well I was able to able to hold on to my hard earned money with a death grip and avoid giving people crap they don’t need in exchange for crap I don’t want. Always make sure its good for the kids though.

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  9. alice on December 17, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    #7

    Please understand that I was in no way referring to you or any specific individual (with the exception of Bill O’Reilly).

    I would not want to add contention to a thread that is about personal need or hope to find cause for celebration.

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  10. Stephen Marsh on December 18, 2011 at 5:51 AM

    ????? — you got my +, so I did not take you as being wrong.

    Alice — you were very kind, thanks.

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  11. Chino Blanco on December 18, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    Upvotes for using “pure” and “Saturnalia” in the same sentence.

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  12. Troth Everyman on December 19, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    Its a good season to just celebrate life (with all it’s ups and downs).

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