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christmas-trainEvery religion has them.  Rituals.  Those things that Christians, Muslims, Jews etc. do to remember key things and lessons about their faith.

But what if you (like me) didn’t grow up with any such rituals?  What if you weren’t raised in a religious family and so never got in the habit of being “ritualistic”?

Well I say we can always make our own holiday traditions and build our own spiritual rituals.

Honestly, I’m a little surprised that I haven’t thought of this earlier.  But there have been a few things recently that have gotten me thinking.

We are now in my most favorite time of the year.  I absolutely love the holiday season. Especially in the northern part of the United States.

I really get into Halloween and decorate the house (that might be a ritual?) and I even get dressed up and go trick or treating with the kids.  Then of course there is Thanksgiving with all of the food and family and warm pie.  And finally I do (and have always) enjoyed Christmas most of all.

I’m 37 years old and my eyes light up and my heart skips a beat every time I think about this time of year.  You would think I was 3 years old.

But I’m like this, because this (holiday season) is an aspect of life that didn’t exist for me until recently.

When I was my children’s ages I did not celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas.  At the time my mother was a Jehovah’s Witness and they don’t celebrate such holidays.  So we didn’t either.

As I became an adult I totally committed myself to celebrating and appreciating these holidays.  This is the reason I decorate, bake cookies and trick or treat.

But is that really honoring the holiday?

While I may adore Thanksgiving, I realize that its significance is so much more than a big fat turkey.  While I love Christmas I realize that its significance is so much more than sparkly lights and gifts under the tree.

So this year I plan to enjoy the season (with gifts and turkey), but also to honor the meaning of the holidays by building my own spiritual rituals, and maybe creating my own traditions in the process.

Here’s what I’ve chosen for this special day of the year.

A New Christmas Ritual

While I am not a Christian per se, the Christmas holiday is very dear and special to me.  I embrace BOTH Jesus and the tales of Santa Claus because I think in essence both stories are teaching the same lesson.

In the case of Jesus, we are celebrating because God so loved us that he GAVE us his son to teach us how to love more fully.  God gave (quite literally) of Himself.  He gave selflessly.  He gave UNCONDITIONALLY as only God could.  And that is something to celebrate.

At the same time, the story of Santa Claus is similar.  This is a man who gives selflessly and unconditionally too.  He spends all year preparing to give gifts to children all over the world.  To show a love gesture to children no matter what race, color or religion they are.  His giving is UNCONDITIONAL.  He doesn’t ask for payment.  And he even gives anonymously.  I also think this tradition is something to celebrate and embrace.

So this Christmas Eve my prayers and meditation was to be devoted to selfless giving.  I want to deepen my understanding of what it means to live and love without condition, just as Jesus did and just as the Santa Claus story does.

My goal here is to turn the page into the new year with more gratitude for all that is in my life and living a life that is more selfless and less conditional.

How about you?  Do you have any spiritual rituals that you have created for yourself?