Celebrating A New Christmas

As we journey through the year, Christmas comes as another little blessing.  -Taeven

Colin's hand painted Christmas card

Colin’s hand painted Christmas card

Indeed, the arrival of this time of year provides opportunities for us to step out of the routine of daily life and reflect on the greater values that we hold for ourselves and for the world.  It has taken me many years of feeling caught in a dualistic drama surrounding Christmas to be finally moving into the direction of creating the kinds of traditions that support the values and emotions that I long for at this time of year. While I trudge through the rituals that our North American society, media, and religion have handed to us, and attempt to surround myself and family with ways that feel true for me, there is a motivation to find beauty and deep connection to the light of the spirits of the people around me.  This year I feel particularly strong about creating Christmas with a certain emotional field for myself and for my family.  It seems like a great window to let in beauty, connection, laughter, joy, love, gratitude,the timelessness of days, simplicity, and prayers of peace for the world.  I find myself yearning to create this certain atmosphere, and filling myself up with warmth and the importance of being together.  I struggle with fitting these energies into the physical manifestation of the traditional ways that are expected, and sometimes feel that my hesitations to replicate what everyone else is doing may cause disappointment or misunderstandings.  How do I translate this to those around me in an honest way through such acts as giving a physical gift… a gift of the thoughts of my heart?  For in my heart I wish to give so much to everyone, but without incurring financial strain, encouraging the clutter of stuff, and widening the divide that lies between those who have and those who have not.  So much mental debris is created when we feel obligated or expected- divides between rich and poor, imbalances of wasteful and scarce proportions.  I want to give beyond these limitations,  I want my gifts to reflect my genuine motivation to give honourably and without insult or suggestion, without waste or  support of the factorization of cheap, environmentally harmful stuff.  I hope that handmade tokens, second hand presents, and gifts of food is simply enough.

our tree made with branches

our tree made with branches

I would stuff the stockings with brain teasers and jokes, art activities and clues to scavenger hunts, or with games that involve piecing together something from each persons stocking.  Personal challenges can be created and tucked in for each person, and perhaps can lead to finding a hidden gift.  Things that would keep us all giggling and silly, that keep the laughter and festivities alive throughout the day instead of the short-term, rip-it-open-and-move-on-to-the-next-thing method.  I loved the stocking moment when I was young, but I can’t seem to bring myself now to buying tons of little plastic things to quite over stuff everyone’s stockings.  Activities and collaborative team efforts to create fun and beautiful moments are the best thing I can think of to replace a huge pile of presents that get torn through before breakfast.  I struggle with the waste of cut trees of Christmas, and have created an annual tradition of building a tree by gathering large branches that have blown down on our property and standing them upright in a bucket of water, supported within a bamboo frame.  We collect different kinds of fir and cedar, and I give a blessing of thanks and respect to the diversity and importance of the life-giving forests of our island and around the world.

homemade gingerbread made with Nana

homemade gingerbread made with Nana

And what of the foods of Christmas?  How do I shed a blanket of love over the cooking of Christmas dinner?  Slow food all day, long meals made with many hands, vegetables infused with the luscious flavors of patience and love.  Conversations shared over chopping boards and simmering sauces, laughter spilling like warm drinks and fresh fruit.  A variety of children’s head levels skirting and giggling in wild joy.  Hands passing glasses and plates as if these everyday objects are in themselves, gifts to be given and received.  Eating only what is needed, and savoring each bite with gratitude, sending prayers of abundance to each corner of the world.

a winter walk

a winter walk

It is important for me to venture out into the winter world no matter what the weather is.  To walk together in the fresh crisp air and remember that the hearth of my home is also the hearth of the earth and of the global interconnectedness of the living world.  Humanity, since our slow beginning, has shared the same air molecules as every animal, plant, tree, insect, bird and fish that has ever lived on the earth, renewing and recycling the very particles that bring life into our lungs and blood, just as it brings life to the leaf cells and sap of the towering, ancient trees and young shoots.  Warm hands in mine, I want to walk through gusts, rain, sun, snow, cloud and mist, breathing in the beauty of the air, the abundance of moisture, a giving and receiving in every breath.  Sharing the crisp and glistening air and feeling the world together, the sense of home expanding into the heavens and into the soil waiting quietly for spring.  The birds snapping up the clusters of seeds heads and worms that wiggle and sway- I want to hear their joyful songs and know that their melodious calls are gifts enough.

But what if I cannot do all these physical things?  What if I had no time to hand make gifts, no money to buy games and food, no home even to wake up on Christmas day?  What if my family was gone, or I had none, or those that I had did not feel the way I do or share the same motivations and values?  What if I was limited in any way from practicing these physical rituals that reflect my emotional values…could I still hold these energies of Christmas and feel fulfilled?  Could I still be warmth and love, connection and beauty, joy and gratitude and giving?  How would I show it, share it, offer it?  How do I create physically that which I feel energetically if my physical world is not such as it is- perfectly privileged?  We are spiritual beings first, having a physical experience, but it is through our worldly ways that we express our spiritual energies and needs.  I suppose this is the constant challenge- to meditate deeply in the midst of chaos, in noise and pollution and different opinions, judgement and poverty.  To emanate my center of peace and love, and offer it to any who may wish to take it.

It is a luxury that I can consider it an easy possibility to create my ideal vision of how I want to surround myself during the Christmas season, that I can freely try on and rearrange the comforts of life that fit exactly into my spiritual center.  I understand, though, the danger of being dependent on the perfect setting to achieve such peace. I am swimming, floating even, in gratitude that all I write about is completely possible for myself and my family.  It is my wish that I can be surrounded by friends and family who share in this longing for connecting with each other, to bring with them a desire to share love and generosity, to be willing to be openhearted and tender, and to rejoice in festivities.  I want to be bursting with life, and laughing with tears, and saying thank you, thank you, thank you, for being who you are, and to have eyes to look into who say thank you, thank you, thank you, back.  I send out prayers that there will be this same luxury and privilege for everyone- to create for themselves a season of celebration that is an authentic reflection of the beauty of our hearts and spirits, filled with love for one another, and feeling the true peace of the world.

I celebrate the spirit of giving with my hands and with my heart.  I celebrate the spirit of beauty in nature.  I celebrate the spirit of joy with laughter.  I celebrate the spirit of light with candles and with my own internal source of divinity.  I celebrate the spirit of abundance with gratitude.  I celebrate the spirit of love with eyes and hands and prayer.  This is my offering in any place I may be, with whomever I may be with.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dawn hamilton
    Dec 22, 2012 @ 15:46:10

    Wendi,  this is beautiful……thank you, thank you, thank you…… I’m sorry I can’t be with you  at Christmas.  I miss you all. Much, much love,   Dawn



  2. genevieve
    Jan 22, 2013 @ 03:52:52

    Such lovely sentiments Wendi. I hope your season of gratitude was as enriching as you could wildly imagine. Somehow I envision it was. Much love to you all, from all of us…


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