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December 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm #193014JKBargerParticipant
Wow what a great post!
You know Yoshio, I think it’s funny that you ask that; I have been asking the same thing myself with my little one and our family.
You are German right? And living in Japan? becuase if so, then these correlations are even more pronounced!
My Grandma is straight from Nuremburg, and she goes hard on Christmas. We even went there one year and went to the Kris Kringlemart- and boy was that a whole different experience!! It really brought the Germanic tradition to life for me- not like how it is in the states. And one thing my Grandmother always impressed was the importance of the tree. Her Father was a closet-Jew, and they had a menorah as well, so we toss that up too.
That being said, I’ve always had a love for the Tree- and by extension, the wreath. I did some study on Shinto as well, which as you know is the natural japanese spirituality, and they love trees as well- especially evergreen like us in the West. So I ended up matching the two some how and wrote this- I think I’ve posted it here, but I’ve also posted it at TOTJO.
Reflecting on the uprightness and longevity of the sacred evergreen, it is not difficult to see the sanctity of giving of gifts during the holiday season. By decorating it with tinsel, ornaments, and most importantly, with a star on the top, we are truly experiencing the decorated tree as a yorishiro, housing the sacred noumenal presence of the Kami.
As the tree is upright, crowned with a star, we are reminded of the vertical connection between heaven and earth. As it descends, the reach of the tree, and by extension, the vertical reach of the Kami, is extended ever so slightly outwards in a horizontal direction.
The tree “decked with spirit” and adorned with gifts has it’s limits though. While the presents reach out further from the center of the tree, indicating distance from the Great Center, they represent the mobility of the Spirit, and points back to us and our curious place between the vertical and horizontal relationships.
Watching the light of the Kami descend and densify from spiritual light to material delight, we see how the this light is given to us to be spread around through gift giving. This portability shows us that although we may be “stuck” or bound to these relationships between heaven and earth, and self and other, we are actually free to determine the quality and direction of that relationship.
In this way, we touch not only on Shinto and Christmas, but we empower ourselves to empower those around us with the highly contagious consequences of Joy and Cheer. Remaining grounded in this primordial expression of awareness of the noumenal, we offer this light yearly on the eve of the New Year to truly and deeply connect ourselves to each other and the world around us.
May you kindle warmth in your hearts as well as your hearths,
Jacob from Colorado
Kinda shirt, and probably due for revision, but I thought it was interesting how the tree becomes a sort of ‘spiritual antenna’ where the Christmas Spirit is literally channeled, funneled, and shared by observants.
But all in all, I agree with Kol- it’s dark and depressing, and we need to get together and share what little warmth we have- and maybe a cup or three of Cheer!December 19, 2016 at 12:27 pm #193024YoshioModerator
Many thanks for your post J. K. Barger! I really like this and as mentioned before, I will have to give all the things which are mentioned in here a deeper search and see what I finally can come up with for creating our own family tradition.
And yes, as I’m Austrian but living in Germany and having a Japanese wife and had been living in Japan for a bit more than a year and sharing a good part of interest for this country, its history and traditions, especially in the martial arts, for me it is difficult to somewhat deny the Christmas thing and actually and honestly that is not what I want to do as it is ever present all around here in German during this part of the year but my major concern is that it is getting more and more commercial every year and thus further away from what, at least in my eyes and from what I read so far within this thread also other fellow Jedi’s point of view, it actually should be meaning the share of love and joy and time together.
Once again, many thanks to all of you who had so far participated in this thread and sharing your approaches on this topic.
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