Let your light shine

Throughout the year, and especially in December, many of the world’s major religions observe holidays that incorporate the powerful symbolism of light:

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, embraces the light of hope, faith, resilience, tradition, and community.

In the Christmas story, light transcends mere decoration, weaving together themes of hope, joy, spiritual renewal, and the transformative power of Jesus Christ’s arrival into the world.

The Winter Solstice is celebrated in many traditions as the turning point, the promise of longer days and brighter times ahead. Light becomes a powerful symbol of joy, resilience, and faith in the future.

During Kwanzaa, candles are a powerful symbol for growth, awareness, and celebration of African American values and identity.

Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Diwali, the “Festival of Lights”. The symbolism of light is multifaceted, encompassing spiritual growth, victory over darkness, divine blessings, new beginnings, and community spirit.

Buddhists observe Vesak, lighting oil lamps, candles, and lanterns to symbolize the Buddha’s teachings as a source of light illuminating the path to enlightenment.

Around the world, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, emerging from the darkness of fasting into the light of spiritual renewal.

Something about all these celebrations leads me to thoughts of parenting because I think parents are the light of their children’s world, especially in the beginning. You are their first loves. You are their home base. You are the purveyors of wisdom. You are their comfort and sustenance. 

And then, they turn into tweens/teens and you’re not. Or so it seems.

Their quest for more independence can feel like rejection.

Tweens and teens often show disdain.

They want more space away from you.

They need to find their own adult identities.

They need to figure out who they are separate from you.

Please, don’t be fooled.

Please do not mistake their eye rolling or snarky comments for them no longer needing or wanting your love.

They still need you. They still want to feel loved by you.

They want you to want to spend time with them, even if they don’t act like it.

They want you to be curious about how they see the world.

For their entire lives, they will probably feel more settled inside if they feel loved and cherished by you.

In the big scheme of things, what if this whole parenting gig is actually all about us shining our light so that our kids can shine theirs?

Maybe today is the perfect day to let your light shine. One way to do this is to pause for a couple minutes and crank up the most heart-opening song you have in your playlist. Picture your kid/s in their sweetest look and feel love pour from your heart to theirs. Feel your heart get bigger as you focus on how much you love these young people. We’re talking big picture love here. Holidays can trigger us in a myriad of ways. It is for this reason that I like to take a moment to slip away and remember why I’m doing all this Christmas stuff: it’s about love.

As you are out and about today, when you see all the decorative lights, regardless of your religion or tradition, I invite you to see those lights as reminders that you being your best, rooted, loving self who is shining your light on your kids so that they feel loved, is your highest calling today and every day.

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Kerry Stutzman
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