I love you my brother whoever you are, whether you worship in your church, kneel in your temple, or pray in your mosque. You and I are all children of one faith, for the diverse paths of religion are fingers of the loving hand of one Supreme Being, a hand extended to all, offering completeness of spirit to all, eager to receive all.
~ Kahlil Gibran, the great Lebanese poet/philosopher (who was influenced by and converged Christianity, Islam, Sufism, and Bahai in his own belief system) – and who embraced Light and Spirit wherever he found them
As we compiled our readings, we discovered to what a great extent many of the World Religions, as does Christianity, celebrate a major “Festival of Light” around the time of the Winter Solstice on into Midwinter.
The exceptions to this convergence are Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam: None of these philosophies has a paramount Festival of Light; however, many Buddhists celebrate the Festival of Light, Diwali (especially in the Indo-Chinese subcontinent) along with their fellow religions, the Hindus, the Sikhs, and the Jains. In addition, Buddhism and Islam both celebrate all year round the concept of Spirit bringing light into the World.
This section is very special to us: Increasingly we find that peoples of the World seek to connect with one another and transcend the traditional divisions that separate us. Many of our most prominent World religious leaders are affirming to each other and to the World that we are One World and that we need to find ways to join hands and do the work of the World together.
While we have an entire Group 1 Reading Section devoted to Christian readings, we also wanted to include Christianity in this Readings Section, as it is one of the major World Religions. We see common echoes in these samplings of the World Faiths and Philosophies. We are a Global community, and the Christmastide to Epiphany is at its core a celebration and renewal of the vision and clarion call of the Angel:
Peace and goodwill to all men.
We hope that our readers will understand that we have not tried to include every single World Religion. For that reason — while we have a few readings from the major faiths — this collection does not try to be an exhaustive compilation of every kind of orthodoxy.
Helping us all to become more acquainted with our fellow World citizens, these readings reach across cultures and across thousands of years of history. We have included historical/ traditional, as well as current, voices to show that the World journey of faith is not just an ancient artifact, but also a vibrant ongoing search for connection and spiritual truth.
Read this Section at your own comfort or not at all. We are not insistent that all readers delve through these specific readings. Also, we have the utmost respect for other faiths, though are not knowledgeable about all. Therefore, we apologize and ask your tolerance in advance for any oversights, missing concepts, or mistakes that we may have unwittingly made.
Our fondest hope is that those of you who choose to use this dozen Readings in your 12 Days Celebration experience the sense of closeness with other peoples of the World that we experienced as we found these passages.