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Peace And Goodwill To All: How Sikhs Can Capture The Spirit Of Christmas

Embrace this holiday period as an opportunity to give thanks for and spend time with loved ones, and to give back to the...

With 55% of Americans celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday, and many more enjoying it for its vacation time, bright decorations and plentiful food, it can feel difficult to know how to participate as Sikhs at this time of year.  Of course, the end of December also marks the birth of Guru Gobind Singh and the martyrdom of his sons and mother, so for some it is an uneasy balance between celebration and prayerful reflection.  However, one thing is certain; embracing this holiday period as an opportunity to give thanks for and spend time with loved ones, and to give back to the local community, is a powerful and uplifting way to end the year.

Celebrating the positive

A recent survey found that the average American family spends just 37 minutes of quality time together per day.  In the Sikh community, close family connections are cherished, but there are times for everyone when work and life commitments get in the way.  Use the Christmas holiday period as an opportunity to draw near to those you love, thank them for all they do for you, and share time with them.  Whether it’s watching classic films, eating delicious food, or playing your favourite family games, surrounding yourself with love will help to restore in you an uplifted, optimistic state of mind which you can carry with you into everyday life long after the festivities finish.

Lend a helping hand

This period is also a great opportunity for giving back to the community.  We constantly see inspiring stories of Sikhs helping others selflessly, and this is a wonderful time to go and volunteer in local homeless shelters, distribute food or warm clothing to those in need, or simply spend time with those in your community who are alone.  In a survey this year over half the population admitted to feeling lonely, and this can sometimes feel worse when everyone else is busy celebrating with their friends and family.  As Guru Nanak taught, love is love, without boundaries or division, so pick up the phone or knock on your neighbour’s door.

Christmas can feel like a time of excess, greed and consumerism, but look beyond this to the opportunities the festival presents.  Take time to reconnect with extended family and friends, seize the opportunity to thank and show appreciation for those you see every day, and find a way to serve in your community.  The Christmas period can bring a lot of goodwill to all.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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