by Avalon De Witt
Another winter holiday season is upon us, and the theme seems to be universal. You may call your holiday Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Ramadan, or Winter Solstice. It is a turning point, a time of celebrating light and the hope for new life. The common element is that we all consider it a time for honoring Spirit in our best and highest ways.
Here in the United States, the prevailing holiday is Christmas, and gift-giving is the major tradition. There are many stories behind the "why's" of this tradition. Many say it is to follow the example of the Magi who came to bestow their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh upon the Christ child. (See Matthew 2:9-11)
We want to have a joyous time, and remain mindful of our values. Yet, we often get caught up in the flurry of gift-giving fever, brought on by media pressures and society, and we forget to enjoy what others give us every day. In a time when people are saying "Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men," how is it that something meant to be so special can become so stressful?
Whenever we are feeling depleted from giving, it means we are not receiving enough. So much time and money goes into making our loved ones happy for the holidays that we wind up worrying how we're going to do it all. When you sacrifice your spirit, you are sacrificing too much.
Receiving is crucial for giving to be complete. In the famous story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry, a man and wife find themselves lacking the funds to give each other what they wanted to for Christmas.
The two most valuable possessions they own are his watch and her hair. She sells her hair to buy him a fob for his watch, and he sells his watch to buy her some combs for her hair. By giving all they had left to give they each rendered the other's gift useless.
It's touching whenever anyone gives all they have to give. And one thing Christmas teaches us is that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. So many of us want to be givers. However, if you are not able to fully receive when others are giving to you, you rob them of the blessing they receive as giver.
We need to allow ourselves to receive, as the Holy Mother of God received the Spirit. When we allow another's light to fill our darkness, their own darkness is also filled with light. When light is both given and received, the balance bridges a gap, creating a union, much like conception. What is created is a blessing.
This year, take time out for your spirit to receive. Spend some quiet time taking in the love you have been given, allowing its light to enrich you. Make it a silent night, a holy night.
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