Do you realize that the twelve days of Christmas begin on December 25 and run through January 5 (or January 6, depending on your tradition)? We’ll leave it up to you to do the internet search on those details. What is important is that much of our holiday season from Thanksgiving to early January is made up by our own unique family and cultural practices. We are absolutely certain the dishes for the meal are done a certain way, the presents are opened by a certain time and process, and who must and must not be included on the greeting card list. The historical and theological facts or traditions of these activities still show up during these days, but our contemporary practice of them in many ways bears no resemblance to their origin.
The good news is that this is a perfect confirmation that we have all graduated from MSU (Make Stuff Up), and some of us have a Masters degree in that! Does changing traditions to serve our current lifestyle and location mean that we have disregarded our ancestors or the purity of their original story? The very fact that we have even thought of these traditions shows that they remain meaningful to us. The most important aspect of our immersion into this time of year, whatever our family, cultural, or spiritual tradition may be, is that we engage consciously in the interactions with those around us and that we take time to hear their stories and experiences and beliefs with the freshness of a New Year. Our ancestors gave us they best they could. Now is the time to do the same with one another. What gifts of new ways of being can you bring to the relationships in your life? Oh – go ahead . . . Make up something that’s really GOOD!