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Uh oh, it’s Christmas!
Ten years ago, the life coach I was, offered words of presumed wisdom about dealing with this mother of all holidays. Have at my “wisdom” and please share yours!
I woke up the other morning with that odd mix of anxiety and anticipation I’ve come to expect at this time of year. How can I do it all? Do I even want to? Why can’t it just be over? But strangely, those pesky questions arise alongside a mysterious, barely-contained joy, that the wonder of Christmas is upon us.
Though I haven’t been officially “Christian” for almost ever, the story of Christ’s birth and loving service to humankind—and the traditions that have arisen from it—continue to touch my heart.
The promise of light at this darkest time of year—the star of Bethlehem, the Winter Solstice, the glow of Christmas tree bulbs indoors and out—gladden and lift me up.
Do the light, the candles and carols, the holiday rituals borrowed from ancestors in Norway and England inspire me? Or is it simply that the absolute certainty of December 25 as a “holy day” is for me the most sublime of all Christmas gifts?
For me, and perhaps for you too if you let it, Christmas is a time to unfurl the white flag, give up the struggles of everyday and surrender into all that is holy within and around us—family, friends, eggnog, cookies, lights, and greens—whatever is sacred, which is to say whatever is most meaningful, to the child in you.
I used to try to make Christmas happen according to my well-laid plan. I was usually successful, the events of the day faithful to what I had in mind they should be. But was I rested, relaxed, and happy when I came down to greet Christmas morning? Not so much.
I was often a wreck, too spent to enjoy the fruits of my considerable “successful” efforts. How much happier I am now, when I lay less groundwork coming from a place that makes room for my joy to mount. How much better for me and those around me when I do less, let go of the results of my doing, and let the holiday in.
There is no one right way to do Christmas, or any of life. But as we enter this holiday season, what I am inviting us to is this: to move out of the mind and its myriad to-do’s and shoulds, and back into our bodies and souls. But how?
By stopping and checking in with ourselves as often as ever we can remember to. Is my heart really in what I am doing right now? We always know. And if it isn’t, how about shifting gears to do only what we want to do, which might just be nothing at all!
To create a Christmas rife with peace, joy, and love, it helps to remember that we cannot give what we do not have. If we’re not feeling joyful, loving, and peaceful, those around us aren’t likely to be feeling it either.
So as I see it, these holidays are a time to collect ourselves and to recollect how whole and holy we are, the better to give and receive—to share—life’s bounty, at Christmas and all the year long. Merry Christmas and holy day love to all!
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