"Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy,
is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
~Calvin Coolidge, 1927
Today, for me, begins this years Christmas season "moment." Because for me, memories have an energy attached to them which resonates far longer, and far stronger, than the words that were said, the food that was served, the presents under the tree.
Today I get myself centered in the Spirit of Christmas.
"Christmas is that magic blanket that wraps itself about us,
that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance.
It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer,
but always it will be a day of remembrance,
a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved. "
~Augusta E. Rundel
Today, as I purchase and wrap the gifts, plan our meals, decorate the house, begin the preparations... as I tidy up and cut some greens to bring inside, I will be mindful of the energy I bring to each task.
I will let someone with a larger cart and three tired children go ahead of me in line at the market and I will entertain the children for those five minutes so the mother can catch a break.
I will drop off a few baskets for people I do not know, but do know that they deserve a gesture of love and goodwill.
I will make a few stops to express my gratitude in person to the Wise Women at the Post Office who go the extra mile to keep my business running smoothly, to the Butcher who saves the best bones for the "Lab Gang," and to my Housekeeper who joyfully does the things I don't like to do so I may do the things I do, in a beautiful, clean environment.
"Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself..."
~Norman Wesley Brooks, "Let Every Day Be Christmas," 1976
And I will bring this Spirit home...
First I'll fill my bird feeders and throw corn and peanuts on the ground for the squirrels.
I'll give the dogs big fresh bones and light a fire for them to sit in front of while they feast and I bake.
I will enter this moment with a song in my heart, gratitude for my blessings, and hope for our world.
Every year I purchase a fresh bottle of laundry detergent and put a bow on it ( meaning Mom's got you covered, just leave it and I'll do it). I know that all three boys will bring mountains of smelly manboy clothes with them as they bound through the door, and head straight for the kitchen. I will wash and dry the loads for them, it's secretly a gift to myself, I can inhale the traces of their luscious being before I toss the piles in the wash. I laugh that I once complained about those socks all thru the house. They are pure joy!
"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients
of a truly merry Christmas"
My family is healthy and happy. There won't be a lot of gifts under the tree for everyone is traveling. I have always preferred to give gifts of experience, of new people and places, rather than things. When the boys were young and we found ourselves in a hotel far from evergreens and our box of ornaments we would decorate a "Christmas chair" with colorful snowflakes cut from folded brochures from the concierge's desk.
Some years we would celebrate a made up-named evening just by being together and grabbing a cheeseburger, once it was Whistlereve... in Cananda, we had burgers but no gifts, and went to bed at around 9pm. We woke to fresh powder and we caught the first tram to the top of the mountain. My (at the time) eight-year old, gazing down at the tops of snow covered trees, said in awe, to no none in particular, "That's what Christmas looks like to Santa."
Not a single wrapped gift. Grateful for warm hats and mittens. And a new point of view. Forever.
The energy in the gift has always been, "Go for it, think outside the box, work with what you have, it's just perfect, this moment."
And it is still, "Pursue your passion, try something new, travel into the unknown, go!!!"
(They need clean clothes for that.)
Not everything is perfect. Yes, there are things I am concerned about and working toward. The past few months have been intense, and I am a bit exhausted. I am playing with new ideas, weighing interesting opportunities that challenge me to step further into myself and my own gifts. But in all the challenges we face, we can still push the pause button for a moment and freeze frame the experience we are in, and fully enjoy the distinct moment we are in right now as long as the Spirit of Christmas is present and the energy we bring to the moment is Love.
"Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts."
So take a break. Realize that the best gifts are those of time and of love. Wrap those in the energy of the open heart and you've got Christmas. A moment to cherish. No matter where you are, no matter what you have, or have not... and here, this is how you make snowflakes for Christmas Chairs:http://www.highhopes.com/snowflakes.html
"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.
In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall."
~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas
May you be blessed!