Thinking about Christmas today and the upcoming festivities... and the pressure to find the "perfect" gift. What makes a perfect gift? Is it when you spend lots of money on something that one of your giftees REALLY wants? Is it when you make something with your own hands, whether the giftee wanted it or not? Is it that magical moment when you find something that the giftee didn't even know they wanted until you gave it to them?
I do love gifts, but they are not my favourite thing about the Christmas season. What I love most is the Christmas spirit. The opening of hearts that are generally cynical or guarded the rest of the year. I love the togetherness with no expectations except to celebrate the holiday. I love the colours, the lights, the sparkle, the fight against the growing dark and the festive encouragement to the year to turn toward light once more. In view of world events, I believe that today's solstice is a great reminder that light returns. The Christmas season, to me, is a celebration of that spark of light within each of us, the gentle humanity that is deep down somewhere, the joy that we can bring to life.
And gifts are only one tiny part of that. Gifts that celebrate awe, that encourage a spiritual awakening, or that provide a vision of a larger reality outside of our daily disappointments are the gifts that encapsulate Christmas to me.
Ray Bradbury, a writer who always celebrated living fully and vibrantly, loved A Christmas Carol. And his own brief Christmas story, "The Gift", recognized the grandeur of our world as a glorious gift. Read it now, to remind yourself of the power of simply looking at the world around us this holiday season.