During the whirlwind celebrations of the holidays, I like to take time to reflect on the deeper meaning of these holy days. Naturally, my thoughts turn to the life of Jesus and his teachings. I think of how the baby Jesus is referred to as the “Light of the World” and the “Prince of Peace.” It’s true that Jesus showed us the way to find peace, but it is up to us to do the work. My favorite saint, St. Francis of Assisi, also speaks of peace, writing that we must have peace in our hearts before we announce it to the world.
It’s December, and that means holiday celebrations. Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or Winter Solstice, holiday festivities and preparations take center stage this month. We delight in celebrating the holidays, especially gathering with family and friends and sharing a good meal and conversation around the table. We both enjoy the evergreen scent of the Christmas tree, the celebratory holiday lights, finding a special gift for one other, and the joy on our children’s faces on Christmas morning. Our daughter Stella has already selected her favorite (healthy) Christmas cookie recipe for Santa and eagerly anticipates the daily blessing on her advent calendar. At the same time, on a deeper level, our thoughts turn to the spiritual meaning of this holiday season. After all, the meaning of the word “holiday” originally meant “holy day.”