We are fast approaching that time of the year again when we are listening for the sound of sleigh-bells, the rustle and crinkle of Christmas paper and the joy of a full and well laid table with our families.
This year, I feel, probably more then any previous years, it would behove us to think deeply about the real and true meaning of Christmas.
Last year, Christmas was effectively cancelled and the reality of a close, caring and sharing Christmas with our loved ones was denied to many. And at cruelly short notice. Of course, we survived, jutted our chins out and displayed a good stiff upper lip, but we missed it all very much and many of us felt isolated and very alone. This year there is an underlying shiver of fear that the same thing may happen again.
How can we reconstruct our experience of Christmas so that those heartfelt and intimate feelings can be strengthened and experienced regardless? Is it possible, to let go of the outside influence of Christmas, as we know it, and allow those needs and feelings to permeate our everyday lives, without being dependent on an increasingly materialistic celebration to tap into that which is most dear to us and express to our loved ones just how important they are?
Our emotional attachments cloud our judgement and so often prevent us from seeking the truth or, even worse, rejecting it. This applies to many areas of life but in relation to Christmas we can clearly recognise that the rituals associated with it become deeply rooted. Our memories filled with laughter, joy, warmth and comfort, surrounded by our loved ones. And as we are bombarded with images and messages of the perfect family Christmas, so too does our experience become entrenched in that wholesome, happy presentation so much that even it if is not our direct experience the message is so powerfully reinforced that many can come to hope that if they just take part in the rituals then it will magically become reality. Too often reality sets in again before the tinsel has had time to fade.
As the mind is not able to readily distinguish the cause of the joy that we associate with Christmas, the ritual can incorrectly be associated with being the source of the happiness, rather than the loving environment which was created simply by being in the presence of family and friends.
As a Christian celebration, Christmas is celebrating the birth of Christ. A time for Christians to remember and celebrate their master, Jesus Christ. Many will agree that this concept and deeper reason for the ritual has become lost in the passage of time and technology. So, for those of us who feel that the true Spirit of Christmas has long become lost in the material whirlwind of our consumer society, this year could well be the ideal time to change a few things!
For many who are attempting to demonstrate their love for the Lord Jesus by walking in his path and respecting his laws (or ten commandments) Christmas is becoming more and more of a quandary. On the one hand they are motivated by love and the desire to walk in his footsteps thus finding happiness and peace and on the other hand the very act of doing this means casting aside all that is not ‘of him’. Much of which is falsely associated with happiness. Tricky!
I think it would be fair to say that we all want the blessings of Heaven and The Light while enjoying the pleasures of Babylon and The Dark. This seems to be more and more evident with each passing day as we navigate our way through these dark times and try to stay safe and sane. It is a common plight of Christianity that while ascribing to desiring the blessings of Heaven one finds oneself immersed in the ways of Babylon. And, I would suggest that there is perhaps no other time that this is more evident than during this fast-approaching season of Christmas and all that goes with it.
What can we do to engage in the closeness and joy while unsubscribing from the trinket-based frivolities and shallowness which has become part of it all?
We could possibly start by recognising that both Christians and non-Christians have been celebrating this pagan ritual for centuries. The ancient pagan practice of worshipping the Sun God. Now, it can be argued that this no longer has any bearing on Christmas as we know it today but think on it. Worshipping the Son of God is a simple psychological switch from worshipping the Sun God and so to continue the pagan ritual dressed in a Christian costume. We have simply reassociated. Taken that which was unchristian to its very core (some would say evil) and associated it with the name and birth of Jesus Christ.
Maybe, though, we can keep the true ethos of Christmas and all the bits we hold dear while recognising that love comes from within and that the Christmas tree and the gift giving is simply a way of expressing that love …… unconditional love. We don’t need lavish and unnecessary expressions of this love if we remember the real essence all year round. Regardless of the season, the tree is evergreen just as our love is everlasting (and Christ is everliving).
I believe that, during these difficult and uncertain times, we can each find our inner light and heed the call to participate in a time of confidently moving forward in that light. Thus, leading our beautiful world back to its true glory and us back to our true selves.
Kate Mchardy MA(Hons) PGCE MSPH Spiritual coach, teacher and healer. firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: +44 7712889534. Facebook: The University of Light Group / Readings at The University of Light (@tarotangelspiritreadings).