January 6th Feast of the Epiphany – Three Kings Day

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day the Three Kings (Or wise men) actually found Jesus in Bethlehem. Once again, the actual dates are not known for sure but it was twelve days after Jesus was born that the Wise Men found him. They were Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.

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They had followed the star until reaching the manger where Jesus rest. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts for the Son of God. As such, many Christians do not give their gifts to their children until the 6th of January, the day Jesus received his gifts of the Magi.

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Of course most children would drive their parents insane these days waiting that long and at least in my house by then, the cats would have ripped open every gift under the tree. Oh, and if you have a real Christmas tree it might be a little droopy by the 6th.

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However, Christmas is really short anyway so if you like extending it for as long as you can, you can justify holding out to the 6th. All joking aside, these are the days Christians cherish, and should. To think that the birth of Jesus is all about just one day is to not truly understand what we worship.

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How to celebrate – If you can, keep your lights up until the 6th so that Wise Men might find you! Give gifts on the 6th to keep the holiday traditions. Never stop seeking the Lord (for many of us that is Jesus).

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December 3rd Advent Season

Today begins the season of Advent. The 4 weeks before Jesus was born in the Christian religion. It is a Holy Season, the most Holy Season on the Christian Calendar. It is the preparation for the birth of Jesus, a time for prayer and joy.

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The date does vary with the year, since the days of the year change. This year Advent begins on the 3rd. It always falls on Sunday 4 weeks before Christmas. Every Sunday has a different meaning, celebrated by lighting candles on a wreath, a German tradition.

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There are four candles on the wreath, three purple and one pink.The first lit is a purple one and stands for hope. The second purple is for love. The third is the pink candle and stands for joy, also known as Joyful Sunday. The 4th candle, third purple is for peace. Most wreaths also contain a white candle center, lit on Christmas for the birth of Jesus.

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Different religions have different beliefs and each has key days they celebrate. All should be allowed to celebrate their own days without interference from others. Most honor this belief, for those that don’t they have no real religion.

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How to celebrate – If you are Christian, celebrate the beginning of the Advent Season. Create your own wreath for Advent. Attend church at least one of the 4 Sundays in Advent.

March 18th Supreme Sacrifice Day

Today is the day we pay homage to those who have given their lives for the rest of us making the ultimate supreme sacrifice. You may know someone personally, you may have suffered through that loss, you may never have known someone who gave their all but we all know who they are.

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The police offer up their lives everyday just by putting on the uniform and taking to the street. It seems as though lately we have little respect for them but we need to. We need to get back to the day where we honor these heroes, not jeer them.

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Few of us would ever walk into a burning building but firemen do. We run out, while they run into the flames rescuing people, animals, and saving whatever they can. Many pay the ultimate price for their efforts. They too should be remembered.

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Obviously the soldier is among those who sacrifice their lives so that we can live free. Sometimes this is hard to see when they fight overseas but be thankful they do, since we probably would have to be fighting in our homes for that same freedom.

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Even Mothers and Fathers often offer up their lives for their children, sometimes literally, most of the time by giving up the things they had hoped to do or hoped to be. They willing place themselves between danger and their offspring, hoping to give their children things they did not have themselves.

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And to me, the ultimate sacrifice was paid by Jesus Christ. Now you may not be of the same faith and I understand that and honor your beliefs. However, I know of no other name in history that offered up their life in order to pay for the sins we humans commit.

How to celebrate – Honor those who serve you, risking their lives daily. List all the heroes that you owe something to. Pay it forward by doing something nice for those who protect you every day.

March 1st Ash Wednesday

Today is the 1st day of Lent, a special day in the Christian religion. It marks a time of prayer and fasting, primarily for Catholics but most other Christian based faith group also participate. It leads up to Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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The symbol of the cross (Commemorating the death of Christ) is placed on the forehead to indicate that we, as people, will one day return to ash. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” This marks the end of the physical body but not the soul. On Wednesday we are to go to a service, normally somber to remember the last supper, receive the ashes and proudly wear them to show our faith.

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As we mark this time we are also supposed to give up something we enjoy (but is probably a bad habit) for between 40 and 46 days. This should lead up to Easter when as with Jesus, we should be renewed in our faith. There is nothing said that after the 46 days we cannot go back to whatever it is we gave up, but it would probably be well to give up whatever it is we chose forever.

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The ashes are to be made up from the palms used for the prior season. They are to be burned, the ashes retained for use on Ash Wednesday. Palms were laid at Jesus’ feet as he entered the city of Jerusalem, the symbol here was that he was a kind and gentle King of men. He rode into the city on a donkey, not arriving in a chariot or making some grand entrance.

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These 40-46 days lead to the highs and lows of Jesus’ time here on earth. From the cheers to the jeers and back again to cheers. He came for mankind, died for mankind and returned for mankind to save us from ourselves. If you are a Christian this is a very important and sacred time.

How to celebrate – Go to church and get ashes as a symbol of your love for Christ. Be humble and thoughtful. Say special prayers for all those you know.

December 21st Humbug Day

For anyone who has gone shopping on Black Friday, this is your day to celebrate! Characters like Scrooge, the Grinch and the Abominable Snowman love this holiday. It’s the day to celebrate all that is wrong with Christmas, Hanukkah and any other religiously based holiday.

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The holiday was actually created on the Seinfeld show with the alternative holiday becoming Festivus. Festivus is a holiday where you don’t anything. Instead of a Christmas tree you use a plain aluminum pole, not decorated of course, tell everyone about your grievances and end the day with a Festivus dinner of whatever you might normally have if it wasn’t a holiday.

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Christmas is often a difficult time to get through. There are many people who have regrets and are sad about something. The holidays seem to increase their awareness of all they have to be sad about instead of what they have to be happy about. While I completely understand and sympathize with their plight, it is so much easier to find things to be sad about over finding things there are to be happy about.

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So I suggest that instead of look at all the negatives, look for the positives. Look for all that you do have over the things that you don’t have and  if all that fails, remember the real reason for the season, regardless of what religion you celebrate. If none of that works…

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…celebrate Humbug Day.

How to celebrate – Don’t enjoy any of the Christmas lights or decoration you see. Don’t have a family dinner with all the trimmings. Return any gifts you get whether you like them or not.

July 6th International Kissing Day

The kiss is the most obvious sign of affection one is allowed to show in public. It can mean love, friendship, respect, even a mark of death. It can be the sweetest moment in life or the ultimate disappointment.

Probably the first kiss that stands out in time was Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Showing the Roman soldiers who Jesus was with a kiss.

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In the old days, a gentleman would kiss a woman’s hand in a show of respect.

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Then there’s the French way of doing it.  Somehow the French always find some way to go to the extreme.

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One kiss you never wanted to receive was a kiss from the Godfather. You knew there was little chance this relation was going to grow.

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There’s the friendship kiss that every guy dreads. It too means the relationship has little chance to grow.

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Then there’s the first kiss. Are you going to do it right? Do you have bad breath?  Will the effort be returned? There’s nothing like kissing limp lips!

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Then there’s the passionate kiss, generally applied somewhere other than the mouth or face.

 

But lets face it, a kiss is still a kiss.

Something we all look forward to, something we all need, something we all want, whether it’s a peck on the cheek or full mouth-to-mouth. Never mind that 80 million microbes of bacteria are transmitted from person to person.

Ekkachai and Laksana Tiranar from Thailand hold the record for the longest kiss at 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. Boy, I hope they weren’t brother and sister.

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Thank you England for creating International Kissing Day. I didn’t even know the English kissed, so prim and proper. But then, if they didn’t there would probably be no United States…think about it.

How to celebrate: Really? You need me to tell you how to celebrate kissing day?