I know I have been on a tangent about Christmas. There seems to be so much about what Christmas is and what it isn't these days. People can't be bothered, people focus on the religious aspects and what they disagree with and everyone is miserable.
Being in Australia has forced me to really think about the traditions I was raised with and what they are and what they are not. It is true that I have not died from missing out on any of them, or from learning to celebrate them in a different way ….but why are they so important? I have tried to analyse the different components and in the end I can only share with you what Christmas is for me.
Yes I was raised a Christian, I am profoundly spiritual today although I would not attach that to a specific religion anymore. Religion played a big role in the music and the feeling … not because our celebration was so focussed on WORSHIPPING Jesus Christ but it was the idea of pure love, embodied in the hope of a single child that would ultimately pay the price for mankind, being introduced to the world. It was about a life that sought to remind us all that we are more than our physical appetites and urges and that we are all one. It was a message of hope, a reminder and a connection with that part within myself. It was about how it made me feel inside when I listened to the choirs sing, and thought about a mother giving birth in a manger to the son of God. Human emotions that we all share. Whatever trials and upsets I was dealing with, I looked at this story and realized that life is what it is and that we are all capable of much more than we ever believed and that our circumstances can only limit us if we let them. It inspired me and motivated me.
But that was only a small part of Christmas. Christmas is always dismissed as "being for the kids." Think about that. Every parent wants, for one day of the world, to let their child know that they are loved. We create an experience for them of sensory delights, messages of hope and love … we spend time with them, we eat together, we play, extended family come and we reinforce THIS is your home. It is the home that fills a child's heart and will go with them wherever they travel in their lives. These are the roots we speak of, our emotional anchors.
And we grow up, and Christmas morphs and changes, we are no longer just the "invited guests" we are participants and then we are in charge and each Christmas that we celebrate reminds us of our "home" and reinforces all that it stood for. It is the one time of the year when we stop to take that time and to let people in our families know they are loved. We do it in word and in deed. We give a hug. We say thank you and we sit together and break bread. We are reminded of who we are. We light the fires in our inner homes. We extend that love to the world around us and even though it is just a day, and one season in a year of days and seasons, we are better people for it.
Yes, we grow up and are no longer children but neglecting Christmas damages our hearts and emotional well being because the further we travel away from those connections that anchor us …. the further we travel from ourselves….