Often we think of the birth of Jesus as the birth of something new coming into our world or our lives, but what if it is not necessarily the creation of something new, but the celebration of the spirit that awakens in us what we already have?
Hope, love, joy and peace all existed before the birth of Jesus.
God’s presence was with humanity before the birth of Jesus.
Light existed in the midst of darkness.
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We have friends who are moving soon and they’ve been cleaning out 20 years of living in one house. As she’s gone through the attic and hidey-holes under the stairs, she talks about how (in amongst the crap that collects) she has found precious things she hasn’t seen in years and had forgotten about. There is such surprise and joy and gratitude in that.
Maybe Christmas is like that. Perhaps we celebrate Christmas (often the same way every year) to try and rediscover that which we already have deep inside ourselves.
I think about the ways we lose sight of those familiar Christmas-time gifts: love, joy, hope and peace…
We lose sight of love in the midst of family conflicts or drama, or maybe we just lose sight of love because we fall into a routine or a rut. Or maybe we’ve lost a loved one, or had a break up. But Christmas reminds us of the unconditional love of the Divine that never leaves us. And the holiday draws that same love out in us, makes us want to share it not only with those we love, but often with those less fortunate, or maybe just with the person you’re chit-chatting with in the grocery line.
We lose sight of joy in the uncertainty of life, and get bogged down in fear or worry. Or sometimes (we hate to admit it) maybe life is good, but we’re waiting for the other shoe to fall and so don’t allow ourselves to fully experience the full extent of the joy. We focus more on a glass half empty than half full. Christmas calls us to sing forth our joy like the angels, to smile at the children, to know a depth of joy that dwells deep, deep within our souls.
Sadly, it is too easy to lose sight of hope in a world ravaged by drugs, human trafficking, poverty, the destruction of natural resources, hatred and violence. And sometimes life knocks us down one too many times in a row and we feel a deep despair devoid of hope. Christmas reminds us that we are not alone, that there is something bigger moving in the world. Christmas reminds us that with each child hope is born again… and that includes each of us… we can all be a light of hope to the world.
And we lose sight of peace… not just peace between countries and people, but inner peace. We’ve forgotten how to slow down, to turn off our phones and televisions and computers, to quiet our minds and rest in gentleness of the moment, and open to a deeper inner peace. Christmas Eve, with its dimmed lights, beautiful music, and the sacred energy that fills the air, helps us touch once again that peace that the world cannot give.
Which of these gifts of the heart do you need to find again? What do you need to remember? What have you taken for granted that you need to see clearly and feel gratitude for again? What have you forgotten even existed and given up on?
May the love, joy, hope and peace of the Spirit fill you not only this Christmas time, but in the many days to come.
Love & Light!