In the traditional sense, we don’t Celebrate Christmas in our house. But we sure do Observe it. Christmas is the “Jambalaya” of holidays. Everything is in it. Beginning with the adaptation of a pagan celebration to a Catholic mass, and later becoming blended with cultural traditions from Europe and Scandinavia, Christmas is perhaps the most multi-cultural event in the calendar. But it was we Americans who really infused it with its most predominant characteristic: Materialism.
But I’m not trying to throw cold water on anyone’s celebration here. Although I am now a Baha’i, I grew up as a Christian and have loved Christmas all my life. I just try, these days, to remember “the reason for the season” – but that’s ALL of the reasons, and in due proportion. The material aspect – Christmas Presents – are at the bottom of my ranking, but the spiritual aspect – Christmas Presence – is on the top!
Christmas Presence is what you receive when you OBSERVE Christmas with an eye toward the Human Spirit. It’s not the toys given by our police officers to impoverished children; it’s the tear in their eye when they do so.
Today my brother-in-law Scott (among whose many talents is electronic music) told me that he was so happy that I am a happily married man. His expression of joy is Christmas Presence for me, and I am grateful for his love. He and my sister care not only for their daughter Amy, but for several neighbors and friends as well. They give Christmas Presence all year long.
There’s a mystic connection between the material Christmas Present and the spiritual Christmas Presence. When we CELEBRATE Christmas with presents, we’re really hoping to FEEL the Presence in our lives. But we can actually receive the Christmas PRESENCE all year long if we first learn to OBSERVE.
Here’s our best wishes for true Spiritual Presence in your lives all year round.