Festivals and More . . .

Presently, I am taking a little R&R in the USA with family and friends.  Since December arrives next week and Thanksgiving was last week, many places, including homes, are decorating for the Christmas season.

As I look around at the decorations, I wonder where did some of the decorations come.  I also see rituals that seem new and different to the original Christmas event.  Even our own family when we celebrate Christmas have a few added rituals as seen in the photo to the right.  For many people, these new and different rituals are a natural part of their celebrated Christmas festival.  In fact, many do not even realize that such rituals were not a part of the original Christmas event.

It is strange how celebrated festivals often become filled with other rituals that have nothing to do with the reason why the festival originally began.  These added cultural rituals often add new and different meanings.   In addition, they may even take away from the original meaning so that it fades into the background.  In a real sense, we can say there are “festivals and more . . .”

Christmas TreeA few extras this Christmas season might include Santa Claus, parades, certain foods, or Christmas trees.  However, none of these should take the place of the real meaning of the festival that we call Christmas.  That meaning being Immanuel, God with Us.

We might ask ourselves, “why do people add new and different rituals to festivals?”  Maybe it is because the celebrated festival is not a part of the person’s heritage.  Or,  it is because the celebrated festival lacks relevance.  I am uncertain why.  Why do you think people add new and different rituals to festivals?

Road Signs !!!

The more mundane things in life are often my favorite things in life.  For instance, I like road signs.  Yes, you heard correctly, I like road signs.  In fact, I enjoy observing and understanding road signs.  It is one of my past times, kind of like a hobby.  Does that sound strange?  Well, my hobby often teaches a lot about a culture and the people in a particular geographical location.   

Elephant CrossingEverywhere we travel there are road signs.  Signs that inform, instruct, and even warn. Some road signs catch our attention (such as the the one to the right – none of us would want to run into an elephant).  Others road signs do not catch our attention and we pass them by never actually noticing what they say or what they are telling us.

Road signs are a type of communication channel.  A way in which one party seeks to communicate with another party.  What do the road signs in your place of residence tell about the culture and the people?

In general, I have often wondered about the road signs from God.  I’ve also asked, “Have I noticed or am I paying attention to these road signs?”

Encounters and Experiences with Culture and People