My nephew may be too young to understand what happens at Christmas. He’s only 18 months old and doesn’t understand the concept of Santa Claus or the baby Jesus, but the joy that he possesses, and that he gives others everyday is the epitome of the Christmas Spirit. Joy to all. That’s what it truly is. Whether you’re religious or not, even in gift giving, it is all about joy and love.
I grew up in the Catholic Church and even the Catholic School System from 7th grade on. Having something strong to believe in is always comforting. Having a moral compass to guide you makes life’s decisions a little easier sometimes. But no religion is one size fits all, and in a way I was tired of being told what to do and what to sacrifice. I went off to a liberal arts college with an extra hippie vibe, and learned about new religions, diversity, and acceptance. Christmas Eve this year, my family watched a non-denominational church service online (we were all sick), which focused on the theme of reconciliation. I wish now that I could remember everything that ran through my head because I had so many thoughts I knew would be worth sharing with you all. I no longer consider myself a Catholic, but I was taught that God is Love and a part of us all in the form of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps that’s what I choose to believe in. The Spirit of Love. Compassion is the cornerstone of Buddhism’s foundations. In Native American religions, a Great Spirit is commonly referred to as the life force that runs through all living creatures and earthly form, and is the reason to respect them all.
All the religions of the world agree that Love is the key to life.
If you’ll believe in nothing else, believe in Love. Believe in the power of Love to conquer all things. And believe that if there is enough Love in your heart, you can spread it to others, and mend all things broken. Use compassion as your moral code. Worship peace and kindness. Reconcile. Remember, at this most joyful time of year, the love that you have shared with others. None of us are perfect. I have been selfish and made mistakes, and so have many people whom I’ve distanced myself from. But I try with all my heart to remember those great times where Love was present. It’s Christmas… if there’s any time of year to sit down and reconcile with those you love, or have loved, it is now.
When we are no longer children it is harder and harder to get into the real Christmas Spirit. Youthful joy like that no longer comes naturally to us. Why is that? Because we’ve been let down and hurt by others? Because we’ve been the ones to let down and hurt others? Why does that mean we can’t enjoy Christmas and feel that same joy we used to?? It’s still there! Deep down in us is the heart of a child who sees Christmas as a time of Love and joy and family and all you need to do is reconcile to feel it again. Whether you need to reconcile with yourself or another, do it now. Don’t wait. Tell whomever needs it that you are sorry, and if you can’t go back to the way things are, reconcile with the fact that it wasn’t because you didn’t try.
I have none other than my own nephew to thank for reminding me of that. The way he makes us laugh is unparalleled. Humor is the strongest thread that connects my family. Bad things will happen, we have all faced disappointments, but we always have the opportunity to look beyond that and see the joy in everything around us. I thank God, or the Holy Spirit, or Love, or whatever it is that I find myself believing in lately for the blessing this family has been to me. They keep me smiling and loving. This entire season is about Hope. The Hope that Love will save the world, and I believe that it does in small ways every day. The question is whether or not you will be a part of it. Now put a smile on your face and grab your loved ones by the hand. Share a laugh, a hug, a drink. But most of all, share the Love.
From my family to yours: