Christmas for Non-Christians
HOW TO CELEBRATE WINTER SOLSTICE
Some of you know that I've been hosting an annual Solstice Ceremony and Celebration for the past 25 years. I began this tradition the year my son was born, because I didn't want him to see Christmas as a time for greed and commercialism, but still wanted our family to enjoy the festivities of the season. I began to research the origins of modern Christmas practices, and when I learned about the nature-based milestones on which many of our popular celebrations are based, I was delighted to find a way to make seasonal holidays meaningful for me as a non-Christian.
Part of our Solstice Ceremony includes a process where we meditate on these questions as the return of The Light leads us into a new year:
. What thought patterns would I like to change?
. What attachments can I release for my highest good?
. What wisdom seeks to reveal itself to me at this time?
. What fears and judgments am I ready to release?
. How might I awaken as the rebirth of Spring arrives?
. How can I best focus on my blessings this season?
Solstice is a natural time for releasing our resentments and regrets from the darkness, knowing they will be transformed by the light. Write them on slips of paper which you can burn in your Yule fire. Feel free to create your own rituals, and if you'd like some tips for designing your own "Conscious Christmas," here are twelve steps that may be helpful:
TWELVE STEPS FOR HAVING A CONSCIOUS CHRISTMAS *
AND LEARNING HOW TO CELEBRATE WINTER SOLSTICE
1. Take the money you’d normally spend on gifts and donate it to a charity in the names of your usual holiday gift recipients. Send them a card letting them know you’ve done this.
2. Invite friends for a Solstice feast on December 21st instead of a traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas Day.
3. After dinner, pass a tray of candles around and ask each person to light one and make a statement about how they intend to bring more light into their lives during the coming year.
4. Have a Solstice tree instead of a Christmas tree, and decorate it with appropriate symbols such as stars, moons, snowflakes, lights, berries and lots of sparkly, sun-related objects.
5. Meditate! Light candles, breathe deeply and feel how you’re connected to the earth and to the universe.
6. Worship the sun. Take a Caribbean vacation or build a sundial in your back yard. The sun is what the "Christmas" season is really about.
7. Go outside with friends to look at the Solstice night sky. Gather in a circle, light a candle in the middle, and sing a song or say a prayer about the sun
8. Volunteer to help serve Christmas dinner at your local homeless shelter.
9. Visit someone in a nursing home or hospital and bring them some homemade goodies.
10. Give away a valued possession to take the greed out of Christmas
11. If you must give gifts, wrap them in newspaper, maps, scarves or interesting fabric rather than commercial wrapping paper.
12. If you have a special skill, teach a class during the holiday season each year.
*Copyright 2009 by Terri Daniel
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