Thursday, April 9, 2009

Every Day is a Holy Day

You might wonder why a Friend is writing on the topic of a holiday, why once again I’ve brought my bare wooden forsythia branches inside and put them in a cream colored pottery pitcher. I hang the same real hand painted eggs I have for about two decades now and this year have added some actual bird nests, which are a treasure to me. It is simple, it is quiet and before all the bustle interferes.

The "why" is because we are a family and we are diverse, but we are more the same than we are different. Each of us is more comfortable with stressing different elements of worship of this same God. And so yes, as a Friend I do celebrate Christ’s resurrection with my family and the renewal that brings each and every day in my heart. I breathe in and out because of this, so I am not offended by the day and hope to grasp hold of it every single holy day I live not just one day. Do I need bunnies, candy, church and eggs hunts–huge representations and symbols of this holiday event? No, not at all, but I need to love and honor those who do. To not do so, would not be Friendly in my mind at all to those around me.

As much as I try to subdue them, Christmas and Easter still get elevated more than I’d like here. Every year I make subtle changes to rid as much emphasis and commercialization as I can. I’m willing to let it slide for those who need it and do it up big style. As Friends, I do believe that no one day should be singled out as more holy than others. For me, it is not a case of not celebrating it, as it is more about remembering to celebrate it every day in between. Perhaps what sets me apart is HOW it is done. Christ did not establish special days, but did tell us to be aware of numbering our days and has shown us our earthly days are fleeting. So, I do not regard it as inherently sinful, but do yearn to do it vastly different than I did previously. Though as a family, everyone must make choices that best reflect their own set of values, even within a solely Quaker family. There is melding to take place, variations to consider, negotiations to be chewed upon.

My branches bloom brilliant yellow and my nests are a simple reminder of renewal and a promise of hope to come. We meld together; we lean into one another and I contemplate this in a wider context of diversity and variants amongst the branches of Friends. Not only on this subject but on many, many topics and how to bring renewal of openness, love and acceptance within them. I’m not sure how. It seems to be much more problematic than I first thought, but I pray it can begin in small ways within me.


Renee said...

I really enjoyed this post and hearing about your beliefs on celebrating holidays and how you handle the diversity of those who are near and dear to you.
I love your photo and the simplicity and beauty of it..


Amy said...

Lovely post. Thanks

We do celebrate Easter and Christmas here. Christmas tree and Easter egg hunt and all. We keep it pretty simple and focus of the fun and joy of celebrating, not on buying/getting lots of stuff. But I must admit I'd miss the memories of the kids when they were small if we didn't celebrate the holidays in some way. For me there is something very human about needing to gather, enjoy each others company and do something special periodically. It's all about joy, love and fun. Every day is holy. And no day is more holy than another. But some days we allow ourselves the time to just stop and enjoy.

Just had a conversaation about this with a new Friend on a trip back from Yearly meeting sessions.

Ganeida said...

I love your *egg tree* ~ simple & beautiful. Interesting you should post on this. I have been aware for some time that some Christians have been finding new signifigance in the OT festivals & recently have started investigating this myself. It looks like being an incredible journey. My Dearest has always objected to Christmas in particular but Easdter comes a close second. I know people need to celebrate [so does God} so felt if you took a holiday away you needed to replace it with something else. Looks like we may have found an answer that works for us & being far more simple is more Quaker in outlook. As I'm on my own in my family [Ditz quakes at the mere thought of a whole hour of silent worship ;)] I'm the one who has to find the compromises.

Jan Lyn said...

Thanks for reading and sharing your ideas with me as well. I think there is a pretty big continum upon which Friends seem to deal with holidays/festivals now. We kind of keep evolving as the years go by, not giving them up but trying to keep them simple, with more meaning and compromise. Truthfully, when this particular weekend was over I was exhausted!
Hope you all had a good one.
Jan Lyn

Pastor Phil said...

Jan can you let me know the artist and song that is playing on the opening page of your blog, I am on the hunt for background music for prayer and meditation. My e-mail address is Thanks