Signs and Symbols of the Christmas Season and the Messages They Send
The Christmas holiday season is full of beautiful and traditional sights and sounds that warm our hearts and remind us of an element of the origins of the holiday.
As I was making last-minute preparations for the holiday with Lou and our three cats, Posey, Dexter, and Teddy I started to think about how so many of the traditional symbols of Christmas are symbolic for us as entrepreneurs and solo professionals.
Decorated Trees – While there are two basic categories – fresh cut and artificial – each tree is as unique as its owner. Color, decorations, size, and type are just a few of the differences. And with an added elements of creativity and ingenuity, you can create a tree as distinct as you are.
So remember, there may be many others who are in your general category – coach, consultant, healer, or creative – there’s only one you. Your job is to stand up tall, clearly stand out, and be you. You’ll attract those who want to take a closer look.
Lights – There are differing beliefs around the history of using lights at Christmas.It’s hard to know exactly why we use lights other than it’s a tradition. One of course is that lights are reminders of “the reason for the season” – the birth of Jesus who is often described as the light that was born into the world.
One story traces the origin of electric lights on a Christmas tree to Edward Johnson who was an enterprising assistant of Thomas Edison looking for ways to capitalize on the invention of the lightbulb and the fairly recent tradition of putting up a tree for Christmas.
I think it’s our job to be a beacon to others. As leaders we light the way for those we guide. You may be uncomfortable with your light and concerned about it shining too brightly for fear of overwhelming or outshining others. Don’t be. You’ve been chosen to shine so others may find you. Don’t dim your light but let it shine brightly and be sure to never let it go out. And don’t be afraid to twinkle ?
Snow flakes – yet another reminder that with billions of people on the planet and millions of professionals doing work like yours, there’s only one you. Delicate and beautiful.
Presents – This is another tradition that has different beliefs attached to it. There’s the origin story of Saint Nicholas who is said to have given gifts to less well-off families with young girls. This allowed the family to have some sort of dowry which helped their prospects for marriage and saved them from a life of prostitution.
Then there’s the purely commercial story that as advertising grew, it fed the commercialization of the holiday. No matter what the truth (and of course it’s probably a combination of many things) about the origin of Christmas gift-giving, you were given a set of gifts – talents, skills, and strengths – that are yours to package and to give to others to enrich their lives.
Leo Buscaglia, one of my favorite philosophers, is credited with saying “Your talents are God’s gift to you. What you do with them is your gift to God.” It’s easy to get caught up in doubt and fears over your gifts wondering if your gifts a re good enough…comparing your gifts to others.
Remember, your gifts are just what your targeted recipient wants and needs. If you don’t share that gift their life will never be complete.
No matter how you celebrate the day, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to remember that you were given to the world as a truly unique gift meant to be shared with others as the blessing you are.