Most people know the rhyme “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Well I respect all beliefs but as I don’t consider myself a Christian I certainly have other reasons I honor the holidays.
In a sentence: It’s not about religion, as much as it is about what they holiday represents.
The major holidays to me (and I will miss a few as I provide examples) all have a good solid reason for existing. Easter is about renewal and clearing the way for new things in your life. July 4th is about patriotism, and pride in our country. Halloween is about putting on a mask and being someone different for a night. Thanksgiving is about reflection on the blessings you have been given in your life. And I will elaborate on Christmas in a minute. Now arguably, there are other reasons these holidays exist…religious, historical, etc, but to me the most important reason is it’s something we do as a culture, and it brings us together both in small groups as friends and family, and in a much larger sense as an entire nation or species (in the case of the non US specific holidays). How amazing is it that across the globe, nearly every small child is rapt with anticipation of Santa Claus leaving them gifts.
But now to Christmas, and why I feel it’s so much more than the birthday of Jesus. That is what Christians celebrate, but all the religious holidays around this time of year have a similar purpose. They bring people together. All the holidays do that, sure, but Christmas time in particular it is the singular reason for the season. The “point” is to spend it around people you love.
I had a friend tell me the other day that “Christmas is just another day” (okay paraphrased…still) and I was shocked. It’s never been “just another day” to me. It has always been something special, even after I found out Santa Claus was a lie (although I played along for a few more years until I got my Mom and Aunt to admit it). Christmas is the one day a year you show people how much you love them. You may do this by giving them presents, or just sending out mass text messages (Sorry guys, poor college kid…guess what you are all getting this year?), but you do it because on this day more than any other it should be done.
That is the purpose of Christmas.
At least, in my opinion.
I hope, dear reader, you aren’t alone for Christmas, but if you are I love you and Merry Christmas! If you aren’t alone, then…well I guess my message is the same.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
So I’ve been trying to write a new post for the past few weeks, but life keeps getting in the way. School, then finals, then this week I was just kind of down and dragging my feet.
But this past week I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and thinking about happiness amongst other things.
The most basic question is “What is happiness?” followed very quickly by “How do I find it and then keep it once found?”
Well, I watch a show called One Tree Hill (yeah, yeah laugh it up…I like it) and recently watched an episode on Netflix where one of the characters talked about happiness and it really kind of lodged in my brain and got stuck there until I could process it completely.
“Happiness is not a destination. It is a mood, it is not permanent. It comes and goes and if people thought that way then maybe people would find happiness more often.”
Now this is not exactly mind blowing or shocking. But given that in high school I wrote something along the lines of “Happiness is like a mist. It surrounds and encompasses you but you can never hold it” to hear something near to my train of thought echoed back to me from a TV show was kind of surprising.
Think about what this quote is saying though. We often in our lives treat happiness as a destination. If I get this job, or I get this shiny new thing, or I do this, or I weigh this much, then FINALLY I will be happy, ad infinitum, right? But that’s not really how it works. The job makes us happy until we get bored, new things interest us for a time, everything we do is so transitory. The only constant in our lives is change. So the first thing we do to find happiness is to shift our thinking sideways and realize that it will come and go, but when it goes it will come back. But it’s not a permanent state of being.
Now the second question is how to find happiness and how to keep it for as long as possible. I have a few different points on this subject.
1. Do what you love
From Pieces of Me.
I cannot begin to understand how people can just ignore the things they love to do. I guess I can understand not wanting to do it for money, because eventually you will hate your job and risk becoming bitter of whatever it is that you love. But you should still DO it. As a hobby, on the side, however you can fit it into your life you should be doing what you love.
To me this is absolutely the most important thing. I’ve been without purpose, and in fact that is really why I’ve been so morose this week. But I found a purpose again. But without school, or a job, it’s tough to really find something meaningful to do to fill the time. When I did today suddenly everything snapped into focus and I realize in a way this seems to be the most important thing. To quote Loki from Avengers, “And I am burdened with glorious purpose.”
This is probably the most difficult one for me. My brain runs about 90 to nothing on a regular day…add in some stress and not only do I not sleep, my brain never rests. But I’ve realized lately that I need to learn how to force myself to relax because getting all wound up just makes things worse. It’s also important to change your surrounding every now and then. Dynamism helps with this, a change of scenery sparks new interest in your mind, and makes it more active.
In summation, happiness is a mood, and the things I’ve suggested at least help me find happiness, so maybe they will help you too.