I have always celebrated Christmas. In fact, as a young child it was, hands down, my favourite time of the year. Over the years, in line with the culture in which I was raised, I’ve carried on the traditions that my grandparents and parents modelled.
To me, Christmas meant family gatherings for which we made good food and put up fancy decorations, where we went out of our way to relax and have fun together. The snow and the lights, the parties and the extra smiles seemed almost magical to me. Not in a Santa sliding down your chimney in the middle night kind of way, but in a more subdued, bubbling with happiness kind of way.
In hindsight, I realize that the magical ingredient that was lacking the rest of the year, the thing that came out in full force during the holiday season, was time intentionally set aside to spend with loved ones. And, while I clearly see that the simple Christmases I remember from childhood are no longer, that is why I still choose to celebrate this holiday. In my home, it’s about turning inward, getting cozy, and playing in the great outdoors. It’s about joy and fun and love.
There is a deeper meaning than many of us have been acknowledging.
Viewed through the larger lens of our Longer Now, and taking into account all that it meant to those that came before us, we can develop a greater sense of all that it can mean to us now. Many ancient cultures around the world celebrated the Winter Solstice, the turning of the season, as a time of reflection and celebration, and then moving forward, as a time of inspiration and renewal. As Christianity came into being, blending their own celebration with those of older cultures, the spiritual message remained one of hope and light. The significance of that is not lost simply because we have moved into a more commercialized way of being. It has not been obliterated by the legend of Santa Claus.
The deeper my own spirituality becomes, the more I connect with these truths. We are all products of our various cultures but when we step out of the power struggle over which religion or society is correct, we can all find the magic of this season waiting for us. Whether we are surrounded by snow or sand, whether we have a Christmas tree or not, there is a shift; a time out of regular life when we can set down our hurts and see the beauty of this life.
This may be the opposite of what many of us have experienced, for we have become creatures of consumerist habit and it’s hard to step out of that world. The weeks of December are said to be the most stressful of the year, and that is a sad truth many people live with. It can seem busier, more demanding, lonely. But if we connect with our souls, if we seek our personal truths, most of us will find that we yearn to be the Givers of the Third Insight.
Setting aside our control dramas will set us free.
We long to give up our control dramas that turn into questions of who gave the best gifts, who spent the most money, and who put in the most effort. And, once we have let go of those attachments, we will suddenly find ourselves free to share in the energy that floods through us, to be an amplifier of light and goodness, rather than a drain on our loved ones. In this way, we can reengage in the synchronistic flow of life.
We can let go of the controversy over what is politically correct, drop the over-responsibility of trying to dictate what others ought to do, and have our individual celebrations in ways that are nourishing and fulfilling. We can take back our Decembers, and give others their’s back with grace and love. It seems that some have become offended by expressions such as Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, but we can choose to look on these greetings in the spirit they are offered and lovingly receive the gift beneath them. We can use our time off work or school to bond and have fun, to reminisce on the year gone by and dream of the year to come.
As we shift ever onward towards an expansive, inclusive world culture, I believe that not only will we continue to celebrate events like Christmas, we will do so on a greater scale. Regardless of religion or culture, the spiritual realness of each of these unique times of year will call to us, because we are all spiritual beings, breaking down barriers and shattering division.
We can choose to spend December in our own way.
So, as a spiritual being who chooses to celebrate Christmas, mixing traditions both old and new, I find myself free and full of gratitude over the beauty of my Earthly home, over the Christian holiday, and it’s many wonderful messages, as well as both the darkness and the light. My December is my own, and as more of us move into this way of being, we participate in the uplifting Interpersonal Ethic of the Eighth Insight by encouraging and supporting others to do the same.
There is no right way to celebrate the holidays, there is no right way to engage in the flow of energy generated during this season, but we can stay open to and share the happiness and the joy, the camaraderie and the love. Whatever each of you choose to do with your December this year – make it your own, and make it great!