Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I need to open something...

"It's the best time of the year, Grandma. We love everything."
                                                                                                Mr Will, age six

We need Christmas. I need Christmas. Do we not each need that magic something?

My Grands began talking about Christmas in July.  I don't know how the subject came up but there was an illustrious amount of enthusiasm considering they were standing on sand in bathing suits. Their little bodies wiggled and giggled like a bowl full of jelly just talking about it.  I journaled, "They can't wait and it's July!" Is it the presents, those great conveyor of magic? Partly, I am sure. Yet, that is not what I hear. They have no idea what they may be getting in December. They probably don't remember who gave them what, amidst the colored paper rumbled on the floor, last December. However, they do remember something.

My daughter called several days ago. Her voice laughs with excitement. "I can't wait, I have your Christmas present." The red sweater will be warm and much appreciated. Yet, it is her excitement that is delightful -- this magical something that holds her gift.

After all,  magic is the reason for the season. A wise friend tells me. "I have to find it somewhere because I want the awe, the quietness, that something Christmas that is enchanted. It is the season to be jolly, to be sensitive, to wonder and be in wonder. It takes us out of the ordinary. The season may be exploited, complained about but it transcends our daily stuff.  We've modernized it, done everything to change it. Yet, at bottom it is still magic."

My grands are proof of that. We each are. I know the feeling, that enchantment -- those lights on the mantle, this love in my heart. That something is all about beloveding. And in that, it also speaks to our sadness. One cannot love without sadness. The two walk hand in hand. Regrets, losses are in it, too. All these hungry children part of ourselves. Like a ball, light on one side, dark on the other, yet, all the same ball, not different than. Twins because love is love whatever it's form.

My friend continued. "We need magic, we need candlelight, we need the angels and we need to be taken out of the ordinary. We need to wake up, to come into the parts of ourselves that are in the Christmas lights. Presents are magic, we need to open something. Even the stores can't wait and I am sure it is more than material gain." It's in the lights, the Christmas music -- from a Red Nose reindeer being asked "Won't you lead my sleigh tonight?"  to that breath-taking holiness of a "Silent Night, Holy Night." And in it all, there is something that rings little bells for me; that says, "It is so."

Photo source: Maksim Pasko,

Friday, December 4, 2015

"Too much humbug in this house..." stated the Christmas tree

"Too much humbug in this house..." stated the Christmas tree

Tis the season to be busy, oops, I mean tired, oops, maybe the word is jolly.  And in this season of upcoming hectic-ness could it possible mean, Tis the season to feel a silent-night holy?

Next week we start decorating this year's tree, all eight feet of it. I can feel the "get 'er done" list growing. Yet I also remember the lessons of that fallen Christmas tree called Timberrr of two years ago. The one that crashed and shatter and scattered shards of light across our living-room floor. After much laughter by anyone who viewed the spectacle, I sound myself rather impartial to my list of "yet to do's". Somehow as important as it all seemed before that "right honorable mess", I understood better as Las-tzu observed, why sages see "the ten thousand things as straw dogs".

My grands, who contain a guru-like element, do not have any humbug-busyness in them. They are free to experience the glow, excitement, magic and dancing joy of the season. Yet, their grandma is not. How can I hold this sacred, Christmas space in the seemingly upcoming, umpteen-things to do?

I need to remember the lesson of a crashing tree and what that "disarray" felt like after it tickled everyone's "funny-bone" and finally, tickled mine. Looking at the shambles before me, I thought, Oh me of little insight, maybe the tree feels "this human needs to light up. Too much humbug-busyness in this house. She has forgotten the spirit of Christmas. Let's call 'Timberrrr' and down goes her hectic-self."

And indeed, down it went.  "Getting 'er done" did lie peacefully on the living floor replaced by much merriment.  The different positionings of scattered pieces of colorful ornaments caught the lights from the manger scene and were almost beautiful. Reminding me that, the mere birth of a babe in a barn with some cows still summons us from this hectic world to a different positioning -- inviting each of us to that sacred, light-filled, breath-holding place in our own mangers.

Of course, the question remains, did this human learn the lesson of the Christmas tree? Will she stop and sing a deeper song? Will I remember again that the sacredness of the season will be "found in acts of breath-taking simplicity: a simple prayer, a sip of wine,"* a kind word and an exchange of blessing.

*Wayne Muller