If you’ve been following my blog for more than a minute, you’ve probably gleaned that I’m not Christian. At least, not in the religious sense of the word. On a heart level, I certainly do embrace the true teachings of Jesus, the ones steeped in compassion. Of course, he wasn’t the only one to teach about such things and anyway…that’s not a post I feel compelled to write.
What I’m trying to get at is this…it is not necessary to belong to a religious organization to live a spiritual life. I look forward to my daughter’s journey of personal discovery around her own spirituality and I am curious what she will be drawn to. I see this as a private decision that she will make on her own (with the support of her family and friends), when maturity and timing coincide. In the meantime, my job is to provide her with a basic foundation of self-respect and compassion, as well as an introduction to how humans have connected to source throughout the eons.
I also am taking on the joyful task making sure she feels connected…mind, body, heart and soul…to the world in which we live. Knowing her place in the grand scheme of nature, as well as understanding how cycles of her life correspond to seasonal ones, will provide her with more security than dogma ever can.
However, I was raised Episcopalian, and my path as a Pagan-Witch-Buddhist-Animist-Sane-Reverent-Person has been a mostly solo one, until now. Jeff, if he was to label himself, would probably say he is a Zen Buddhist. He is also an Appreciator of Wild, Natural and Beautiful Things. He also has a soft spot for cute fuzzy animals. Between the two of us, we have a lot of heart, which is really all one needs around holiday times. But it’s not like we’re going to be smooshing our religious backgrounds together to create some kind of Chrismannukawanza. Mostly, I want to give Fern joyful expectation as we approach the holidays each year, knowing that we’ll be doing that thing that we always do. We get to create our own familial traditions, and we find ourselves before the great wide open.
When it comes to celebrating the Winter Solstice, as I have done on my own for 21 years, I have lots of little ideas for what we can do as a family. There are so many ways that Christmas corresponds to the Winter Solstice, that there is no reason for Fern to ever miss out on mainstream fun, plus there are wonderful traditions from my childhood that I want to carry forward. But I’m curious about YOU…do you straight-up celebrate Jesus’s birthday this time of year, or is your family a mish-mash? Do you recreate neo-pagan yule log type parties, go out into the woods for a silent night or forgo the whole thing and work in a soup kitchen in the spirit of giving? For all you nature lovin’, agnostic types, what are some of your favorite things to do with your kids? I would love to hear about the core of this season for you, as well as any ideas you would like to share.