11/24/2014, Faith, religion, spirituality is very person. Some try to push their beliefs on others. While, others try to show their faith through how they live their own life. And yet, others avoid the subject entirely or shrink away from it when they know they are talking to someone who is not “religious”. Each one of us, will, at some point in our lives have to determine what it is we believe or don’t believe. That’s the simple truth whether we are young, middle aged, or on our death bed….we will make a decision about “faith.”
Two thoughts on Religion & Holidays:
Thought #1. The holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It is a time to be thankful, feel rebirth, and be happy. However, for many of us the holiday season is full of sadness, loneliness, and struggles. How does someone who lives alone, has a few friends, and no family to spend the holidays be happy being alone? We all want to be loved and cared for by another human being, but sometimes we are totally alone. After researching on how to survive the holidays being alone, the following suggestions can be made: 1. Volunteer….volunteer at a homeless shelter, at church, or volunteer at a nursing home or veteran’s outreach center 2. Make a list of people that you can at least call and wish them a happy holiday — even 5 minutes on the phone with another person makes for human contact 3. Invite someone or people to your house for dinner – you never know until you ask 4. Go to fee concerts…there are many free concerts, choirs this time of year 5. Attend church events or library events to be social when you can 6. If alone on the holiday, do something – at least one thing for yourself that is special….whether a meal, a gift for yourself, watching a movie you’ve been wanting to see….do something out of the ordinary. 7. Plan ahead as much as possible to prepare how you are going to get through, survive, or even enjoy the holiday.
Thought #2 Religious beliefs. The holiday season is a time for reflection, remembering holidays spent from childhood through to the present. Living alone whether by choice or through loss of loved ones can be difficult as we often wonder why God let a relationship end, or why someone died, etc. etc. In our grief, we get caught up in the anger, the raw emotion to the point that we are so bitter or angry at God….that we cannot feel his love, light, and truth in our lives. We are so busy pounding on his chest, that we cannot feel his arms wrapped around us – holding us because we are his precious child. Letting go of the Why God, whys….can occur. Some events we will never know why & that is where trust comes in. Believing in a loving, forgiving, and merciful God & surrendering all of the “bad” feelings can be a rebirth to a new relationship with God. Some find it helpful to write a letter to God, others pray, & others seek pastoral help. Deciding what you believe or don’t believe this holiday season may refresh you & be worth the effort.
Personally, the approaching holiday season holds many challenges for me. I am alone. I have my pets, but no humans. So, I am volunteering at a homeless shelter & cooking for me and my pets. I will also visit a couple of friends that were nice enough to ask me for Thanksgiving. Remembering the pain of the last year with my dad being so sick, my marriage falling apart, and recovering from a surgery ….brings back pain & grief that I thought I was over. I guess I am not over it. Last Thanksgiving, I had to tell my dying father that he would not see or talk to my sister on Thanksgiving…that was by far one of the hardest things I ever had to do ….to tell a dying man he would not see his eldest daughter. Then, on Christmas morning – my dad went to the hospital for the last time….also, my father in law was admitted on Christmas too….both for congestive heart failure. Last Christmas was one of the worst days in my life.
At first, I was not going to celebrate the holidays at all this year. However, for me the holidays of my childhood are dear to me & I have examined my faith. I am a Christian & believe that Jesus’ birthday is to be celebrated. I believe that God can forgive me for being angry or bitter. Also, I believe that whatever comes my way in the future, God will help me get through it all. I have been doing a lot of praying & reading and I believe that my spirituality can be “re-awakened or renewed” by making a decision to turn my will & live over to the care of God -surrendering & accepting Jesus as my savior. I cannot think of a better gift this holiday season than to have a renewed relationship with Jesus. God has blessed me by giving me this gift this year…a gift that is not just for me but for everyone who believes. I am not the type to push my religion on others. I am merely stating what my experience has been & what I have decided to believe. So, during these holidays – I will remember sledding & playing as a child, I will remember my Dad cooking, and I will remember what my parents taught me about the holidays. Then, I will decide how I want my present & future holidays to be recognized (celebrated). I have decided that my faith in God is important to me, and I am comfortable knowing what I believe. My faith will help me survive & enjoy the holidays to some degree.
If you are facing the holidays alone & are undecided about what you believe about spiritual or religious matters, I hope you take the time to think about it. There are really 2 issues….How will you spend the holidays & then what do the holidays mean to you? I normally do not write religious articles; however, it is hard to think about Thanksgiving & Christmas without thinking abut belief in God. Living & being alone does not mean that celebrating holidays has to end…it just means that you are free to celebrate them in any way you want to. Also, you are not alone…there are many widows, orphans, survivors of abuse, etc. facing the same things. Life is a gift, each day is a gift. I hope you treasure your gift.