More than any other holiday, Christmas is the one that is celebrated the most in hundreds of countries around the world. In the country where I live, Canada, December 25th is a mixed bag. On one hand, it is the time of remembering the birth of Christ and all that stands for—peace, love, forgiveness, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, good tidings, family gatherings, turkey dinners, gift giving, Midnight Mass, carolling, decorating trees, and putting up Christmas lights to herald the season.
But more often than not, this is not the case. I heard on the radio the other day that in Bethlehem pilgrims are gathering, but on every street corner and on top of buildings there are armed soldiers to ensure the peace. Local people do not go out at this time. The streets are too dangerous.
And here on the North American continent Christmas can be a time of madness, stress, depression, and a yearning for what Christmas is meant to symbolize. This is especially true when money is scarce and it’s difficult to buy gifts for the people you love, or when family gatherings are something that “other people” do, but you don’t. Perhaps your family members are far away from each other and haven’t been under one roof for years. Or perhaps they live in close proximity but your relationships are dysfunctional or estranged. Christmas time may mean putting on a lot of false smiles and wishing in your heart that things were different.
Also, the darkness at this time of year is a huge factor contributing to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Depression and loneliness reign higher during this time of year than at any other. If this is true for you, I suggest you reach out to at least one person. Please do not isolate yourself. Why not volunteer at one of the food banks or dinners that are put on for the homeless by the Salvation Army or other agencies? Sometimes nothing lifts our spirits more than helping others.
Last year I had a wonderful gift at Christmas. I live in a small apartment on a peaceful street and the building I live in is filled with many friendly people. On Christmas Eve I heard loud voices outside my door. This was quite startling as it was the first time I ever encountered that. I opened my door and saw an open door to the apartment directly across the hall. The young man and woman who lived there, who I had not met as they had only recently moved in, were shouting and throwing things. Then they punched one another. It was serious. I immediately ran to the property manager’s apartment and told her what was going on. In the meantime the couple slammed their door shut. We knocked and they wouldn’t answer. The shouting continued. We knocked louder. They finally opened the door and the manager said, “Stop this immediately or I will call the police.”
At that moment I was inspired to go into my apartment and get a candle. I found a beautiful white candle and lit it and walked into their living room. In the middle of the chaos, I said, “Hey guys, this is Christmas Eve and this is a candle of peace. How ‘bout a time out?” They seemed stunned. In the pause, I offered the man the candle. I caught him off guard and he took it. He held it awkwardly. Then I said, “Would you like a hug?” Again he looked stunned but quietly, in almost a whisper he said, “Yes.” I immediately hugged him and he began to cry. He simply wept as I, a total stranger, held him. At the same time, my manager was hugging the woman. An aura of love and peace enveloped their living room. After a few moments, the man left my embrace and walked over to his partner and took her in his arms. We quietly left.
Now this is what I call a Christmas story! The kind I trust and believe in—and we don’t have to wait for Christmas. I believe in the indomitable human spirit, the one that seeks out kindness. I was inspired to get the candle. If I had stopped to think about it, I probably wouldn’t have done what I did. I don’t believe I would have gone into the middle of a physical fight and try to break it up. I didn’t “try” to do anything. I just acted as I felt directed to in the moment and a miracle took place. It was Divine Inspiration that led me to take that action, which melted the fury that was taking place between two people. A small gesture of love goes a long, long way.
Writing Prompt 1
What does Christmas or the holiday season mean to you? Write about some of your favourite memories. Write into your truth—if it’s joy, sadness, madness or something else.
Writing Prompt 2
Write what you envision a peaceful, joyful holiday would look like. Write about it in first person, present tense as though it were happening right now. See it on the screen of your mind, bringing in all the details of how you would like it to be. See it, feel it; smell, taste and touch it. Get excited about it. This is a method of intending something in order to make it real in your mind. Remember this is about “Re-Writing Your Life”. You can re-write your script for the holidays by focusing on your highest vision. At the end of this exercise, surrender it and let it go.
Buy yourself a fabulous journal for Christmas and commit to writing in it every day. Let it become your 2016 spiritual practice, a meditation on the page to express your authentic voice and creativity. A related tip: You may want to do what I do. I buy 8 1/2 X 11 notebooks (much less expensive than ready-made journals) and I choose wonderful pictures from magazines and old calendars that I have collected over time to paste on the front and the back covers. Voila! A beautiful, personalized journal that I love!
Please let us know how this works for you by leaving a comment below.