Be a Light

Acknowledging the impact of holidays on others, and what to do when things get dark.

Christopher Boswell_AdobeStock

HOLIDAY TRADITIONS

In this series, Holiday Traditions, we asked clinicians to share their favorite holiday traditions from both past and present. Here’s how they answered.

The holiday season, for the most part, is a reason for joy and celebration. For some, however, it is a time of grief and heartbreak. As a psychiatrist, but mainly as a human, I need to notice and honor the impact of holidays on people around me. With the widespread of trauma and its subsequent dysfunctions, I am aware of how lonely and depressing these times can be.

From a diversity standpoint, not every religion or culture is represented in the major US holidays. For example, in my faith, Islam, I celebrate the end of Ramadan (the sacred month of fasting) and the end of Hajj (the holy pilgrimage to the house of God).

In Islam, like with other faiths, people view holidays as a source of light and beauty. The word light is mentioned 33 times in the Quran. Allah described Himself as the light of the heavens and the earth, Prophet Muhammad is described as a lamp that is spreading light, and the Quran is viewed as a source of guidance when things get dark.

Islam teaches its followers to:

  • Lift people up.
  • Share your light, like a shining moon.
  • Guide, like a lighthouse.

Islam also tells us that:

  • Everyone has light, so help people rediscover and reignite theirs.
  • Blowing out someone else’s light will not make your light shine any brighter.
  • There are beautiful things that you can only see in the dark.

Dr Reda is a psychiatrist in Colorado. He is the author of The Wounded Healer: The Pain and Joy of Caregiving

Do you have a favorite tradition or activity that you enjoy with your loved ones during the holidays? If so, write to us at PTEditor@MMHGroup.com for a chance to be featured in our Holiday Traditions series.

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