As we rush about in the mad scramble to get ready for Christmas, how many of us pause to think about what we are getting ready for? Is all the shopping, baking, wrapping, meal planning, party preparation, and more shopping what Christmas is all about? Does the true meaning of Christmas get lost in all the hustle and bustle? As we greet everyone we see with “Merry Christmas,” how many of us contemplate what we are really wishing for others? As we decorate our homes and yards with lights and sparkle, how many of us experience inner light and sparkle? How many of us truly feel the love and joy that this season is supposed to be all about? Instead, we feel pressure to prepare and to be ready to welcome the arrival of friends and family to celebrate this festive holiday. And what about those of us who are alone and who do not get to experience joy-filled gatherings of loved ones? What about those of us whose families are fractured or distant? What does Christmas mean when we don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold of loving family gatherings filled with joy and warmth that mass media force feeds us in the days and weeks leading up to the holiday? What does Christmas mean when our holiday becomes a blur of festive parties, gatherings, and meals, and we yearn for time to recharge and relax?
I want to flip a master control switch that makes everything and everyone stop. During that quiet pause, I want to ask some important questions — questions that require some real reflection:
- Why are we rushing?
- Look at everyone’s faces, and let us not forget to look at our own. Why are we stressed?
- Why is it so important that we get the perfect gift for everyone?
- Why do we allow the retail sector to exert such influence on us that we get caught up showing our love with “things”?
- Why do we spend more money that we can actually afford in order to give to one another and in order to celebrate a season that is supposed to be about joy, love, and peace — states of being that we know we cannot find in “things”?
- Why does giving suddenly achieve such priority in our lives? Out of all the weeks in the year, why is it suddenly important to give to those less fortunate? Are we giving because of guilt or love?
- Why is it so important that we buy and prepare more food than we can possibly eat?
- Why do we participate in this season of gluttony knowing the guilt that we will experience when it is over?
- WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
These questions are not just for everyone else. I need to ask these questions of myself as well, as I contemplate the preparations that I have just completed for my own family. Why? Why do I push myself to go further and do more each year? I need to pull the STOP switch for me, too.
And it’s not just the Christmas rush. Then we will get into the post-Christmas rush — the great Boxing Day deals that keep people rushing and buying until they are exhausted and have to go back to work to pay for the things they bought before and after Christmas. What is it all for? Does any of it bring true joy? Does any of it bring peace and love? Isn’t that what Christmas is supposed to be all about?
As we are on pause, I propose a different focus — one that celebrates CHRISTmas. And I suggest that the true meaning of CHRISTmas is one to be celebrated each and every day throughout the year. According to Christian religious traditions, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. But, my friends, Christ isn’t one man who was born as God’s Son in a manger so long ago. Christ is all of us. A Course in Miracles teaches that God has one Son… the Sonship… and we are all integral parts of that Sonship. We are all one divine family, united and connected for eternity. Jesus is our elder Brother whose life and teachings show us how we can return to our true identity and union with God. As God’s Sons and Daughters, we are His Holy creations; we are extensions of his unconditional, eternal, life-giving Love. Every single one of us is Christ… at the level of spirit.
Let us bring Christ back into CHRISTmas. Let us recognize the Christ in each of our spiritual Brothers and Sisters. Christ is there… within.. beneath the layers created by fear and ego and separation from God. As we get together with friends and family, let us practise recognizing the Truth within everyone. Let us recognize who we all are at the level of spirit, beyond and beneath our egoic stories. We are all Divine beings of pure Love. Have we forgotten this? Yes, most of us have. Is it possible to be able to “see” in this way? Yes, all it takes is a little willingness and opening to the possibility of the truth in my words.
I want to share with you the following prayer to help keep you centered and focused on the true meaning of CHRISTmas as you move through and beyond this hectic, festive season:
Open my spiritual eyes so that I may recognize the beauty of Christ within everyone I meet and spend time with over Christmas. Even if I can’t seem to recognize that beautiful inner light at first, help me to persevere and to remember that the Christ within each person may be buried beneath layers of fear, blame, judgement, attack, and anger — the residue created from living life according to the dictates of our egos. Help me to see with my spirit and not with my physical eyes, knowing that what I see with my spirit is how You see me.
Open my heart to the experience of Your boundless Love, and as I do, let me open so that I become a channel for Your Grace and Love in this world. You see me as I am… Your Holy Son… and You love me always, no matter how lost I have been or what mistakes I have made. Help me to learn to love as You do and to bring more Love into this world.
Help me to celebrate CHRISTmas with the inner journey I take to spend quiet time with You. Let me pause and go within to experience all that Christmas is supposed to be about… love, peace, and joy. These are Your gifts to me… and You give them abundantly and without measure… when I remember and return within to You. Let me share these gifts with my spiritual Brothers and Sisters, and help me to experience the ultimate gift of the season: in giving Love, I receive it. When I recognize Christ in others, I recognize Christ within me… and I can rest in peace and joy knowing that I am finding my way back to You… my true Home.
Dear God, let me remember the CHRIST in Christmas in all the days that follow. Help me to open to Your guidance and Love so that I may experience what truly has meaning. It is so easy to get lost in the noise and bustle of the outer world; help me to remember that all I have to do is go within to find You and to be enveloped in Your Love. Help me to remember who I really am… beyond the physical trappings of my body and the story I have created of my life… Your Beloved Son… and as I remember who I really am, help me to remember and to recognize my spiritual Brothers and Sisters.
My prayer for all of you is that you find and experience the Christ in Christmas. I wish you a blessed Christmas; I wish you all the love and peace and joy that this season is supposed to be about; and I pray that you make time to get quiet and to go within so that you can experience these priceless gifts that wait for you to remember who you truly are.