This year we will be celebrating in difficult times. But we will give thanks for the blessings God has bestowed upon us none the less. This is the season to share the holiday spirit with family, be mindful of those less fortunate and make someone else’s life a little brighter.
Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday, this year our celebration is sure to be unlike any we have shared with our loved ones before. The pandemic is raging throughout our country. However, with new vaccines showing great promise, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Additionally, as scientists throughout the globe continue to develop new therapies and vaccines, the light is likely to grow brighter and brighter. Let’s enjoy these holidays safely so that a year from now all of us can give thanks for having weathered this dreadful storm.
A History of Three Festive Occasions
Whatever your holiday tradition, there is no better way to shepherd its meaning into your home than by bringing its spirit to life with love of family and kindness to others.
The Origins of Christmas
On Christmas day a child was born to the virgin Mary in Bethlehem, a small village on the west bank of the River Jordan. Christians believe the child to be the son on God, a child sent to be the savior of all who believe in him. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, but over the centuries it has evolved into a season marked by an appreciation of the bounty we share with family and a time to help those less fortunate than us. It is a time for gift giving and for charitable giving as well.
Hanukkah is the Jewish celebration of a miracle that happened many centuries ago. At the time, Judea was ruled by the ancient Greeks. Their king outlawed the Jewish religion and defiled the ancient temple in Jerusalem. He then replaced its alter with an alter to the Greek god Zeus. In response a group of brothers, the Maccabees, led a revolt against the Greeks. They fought valiantly, drove the Greeks out of Judea and restored the Jewish temple and its alter.
In honor of their great victory, the Maccabees lit the traditional Jewish candelabra known as the menorah. However, they only had enough oil to keep the lights of the menorah burning for one day. Then, as if as a sign of approval from God, the menorah miraculously burned for eight days. On the eighth day a new supply of oil arrived. From that day forward, the people of Judea and their descendants have celebrated the festival of lights for eight days each year.
Kwanzaa, A New Tradition
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, chairman of the African Studies department at California State University, in 1966. He designed it in response to the Watts riots which occurred the year before. The holiday celebrates culture rather than religion. It commemorates seven guiding principles: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. These principles are based on the teachings of several African cultures and aim to instill pride and a sense of belonging and self worth in people of African descent.
As is the case with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa is observed over eight days and centers on the lighting of a single candelabra candle each day. In total seven candles are lit. Each symbolizes one of the seven principles which form the philosophical foundation of the holiday. Then the eighth day is devoted to sharing a festive meal and gift giving.
Celebrating in Difficult Times by Sharing Our Good Fortune
In this environment many are reaping rewards while others suffer. The stock market is soaring and the real estate market is booming. Therefore, those who benefit are seeing their wealth grow exponentially. However, many small businesses are hard hit and may never recover. Of course, workers who rely on such businesses to be the primary source of income needed to support their families are suffering the most.
No matter whether you celebrate one of these three holidays, or another symbolic of your culture or religion, please do so safely. If the hope spawned by reports of progress in developing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies gives you cause to be thankful and celebrate, don’t respond as if the danger has passed. Celebrate prudently and safely.
Additionally, if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford to do so, please consider giving those in need cause to celebrate as well. Visit here to share your good fortune with others in Ocala through charitable giving.
Enjoy the holiday articles below and have a happy and safe holiday season.
Though we may be celebrating in difficult times, everyone loves decorating for Christmas. Grab your garland and get ready for wreaths because we have great news. The editors of Southern Living are about to share with you some of their favorite new ideas for Christmas decorating. These decorating ideas for your mantel, front door, mailbox, and Christmas tree will surely fill you with Christmas cheer. Read the article on southernliving.com >
Regardless of which traditions you celebrate, there’s a good chance you’re staying home for the holidays this year. Of course, we are celebrating in difficult times. Therefore, as in previous holidays in 2020, dining out may be out of the question during the Coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, you may wish to share an intimate feast with loved ones at home instead. Read the article on goodhousekeeping.com >
Let’s explore the origins of our celebrations and share the joys of the season with our loved ones and those less fortunate. The word Christmas comes from the Latin words “Cristes maesse”, or “Christ’s Mass”. Additionally, most historians believe the first celebration of Christmas occurred in Rome in 336 A.D. It is both a holiday and a holy day. Read the article on firstpost.com >
Andrew Kruglanski, Broker
Ocala Home Guide Realty
Website: Ocala Homes Online