'Tis the holiday season, that magical, crazy, mixed-up time of year when the world, at least in some countries seems to pause in celebration – yet we end up scurrying at work and home more than ever.
The season of course is changing for Canadians. It is much more diverse and encompassing of a country which has generally always welcomed immigrants and today the influx is less European and more worldwide in nature.
While many Canadians grew up with the modern Christmas traditions, the Coca-Cola created Santa Claus handing out gifts, stories of animated snowmen and red-nosed reindeers, and conifer trees draped in tinsel and lights, that is not the case in many households today.
Today proud Canadians may well be celebrating a range of holidays at this time of year.
Diwali is a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).
There is Bodhi Day (Buddha’s Enlightenment) – Mahãyãna Buddhists celebrate Buddha’s attainment of understanding.
Hanukkah which commemorates the Jewish victory over the Syrian Greeks, ending a three-year period of religious persecution.
Yule begins at sundown – sabbat celebrated on the winter solstice, often observed as the rebirth of the great horned hunter god and the newborn solstice sun for pagans.
And of course increasing numbers do not actively follow any organized religion.
But, this festive season still permeates society because the joy of twinkling lights, blow up snowmen, the goodwill of Christmas kettles, and the scent of gingerbread is difficult to ignore. The excitement of the season is infectious.
And amid the wrapping paper and bows there is a simple truth of the season that is the heartbeat if it all, a simple little gem that we should all grasp onto and hold dear throughout the entire year; the concept of ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all’.
All the rest of it is an individual thing as people follow their beliefs with all paths being important to those upon the particular road, but those few words should be aspired to by everyone.
It is the season of joy and it should be enjoyed, but as world community let it also inspire to be better at working toward those simple words; peace on earth and goodwill to all.