By Rev. Ric Beattie
It is more than a coincidence that each year, from the beginning of November through mid-January, there are approximately 29 holidays celebrated by the planet’s seven major religions. There are even more when we add in the humanists and smaller religious groups. These holidays, or “Holy Days,” celebrate the harvest, the beginning of winter, the lengthening of daylight, the transition from one year to the next, the beginning of a new year, and so much more that I could probably write a book.
In the past, there has been much discussion about the early Christians placing new Christian holidays near established holidays of other religions to encourage conversion to Christianity. There is also much to be said about consolidating religious and spiritual holidays as people became more mobile. I believe we have much more profound reasons for having so many Holy Days at this time of year.
Here are a couple of ideas for your consideration. It was widely taught and believed that religion and science were opposed to one another for a long time. However, they are simply two points of view, two places from which to observe and attempt to explain the big stuff. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? What’s next?
Neurologically, human beings are hardwired for community, living with and caring for one another, and sharing resources. One of the primary purposes of these Holy Days is to gather people together. On these special days, we share our energy and space. We share meals and come together with friends and families to help remind us of who we are. We remember that we are essential parts of a tribe – in fact, many different tribes.
For many months, I have noticed people’s increased interest in gathering together in the community physically. This long pandemic experience has left many of us hungry to connect. Again, there’s a physiological reason for that. We need more “tribe time.”
Whatever you call your holidays, whatever the focus is, there’s an element to them all of gathering together. From all of us who co-create the community known as Unity of Royal Oak to you and your families, we wish you Happy Holy Days.
Rev. Ric Beattie
Unity of Royal Oak
You are welcome and celebrated here. We’re #MoreThanAChurch