We often talk about ‘faith,’ and ‘birth,’ and ‘joy’ while celebrating the festive season which is upon us. We begin to hear choir rehearsals as we plod along village streets. The capitalist reminders of ‘pre-boxing day sales,’ and the barrage of tinselled social media begin to pop up everywhere. ‘Sip and shop’ are common, as are open houses, craft fairs, and an array of other lovely events to cater and attend. It can be the craziest, busiest time of the year, before the true poetry of winter actually sets in as we are called to hibernate – like bears. Allowing the sullenness of January and February help us restore some sanity, and sensibility to our lives. For in the dead of winter there is solitude. As there is in every other season, day, hour…moment even. But somehow the hush of winter makes it sometimes a little easier to sink into the welcome of silence.
For one moment – pause. Stop actually. And listen deeply. For in the stillness, speaks truth. For myself, the breath of the silent mind is truly paradise. Reminds me of the infamous “Silent Night.” For…It is a silent place, a holy place. A space that is “calm and bright.” I would wish this peaceful joy for everyone. Peace of mind leads to peace.
The imagery of a baby born in a manger seems to have more impact on me this year, as we face the largest mass exodus in history. With refugees and migrants fleeing worlds of turmoil and hell. As to the people sleeping outside, with no lodging, food or promise of what tomorrow may bring, looking for signs of hope in a starry sky doesn’t seem to be so far fetched either. Children wish on stars. And we definitely could use some wise men, wise and kind men, and loving men to come to help shift the patriarchal and colonizing paradigms. And we would definitely benefit from mothers named ‘Mary.’ Who stand tall with courage in the face of corruption and extreme adversity, as we watch many of those suffering in the world being crucified.
A good atheist friend of mine reminded me that Holy Scripture has no more relevance. And yet, we endear ourselves to the many other forms of soliloquies and poetry that speak to the human condition, that regardless of past, seems to find a way of repeating itself. Yes, there are troves of injustices written in black and white, and there are the voices of angels that speak between the lines. Sometimes we take things for granted, and forget what reading between the lines really means. We lose ourselves in attachment, and in a time of year such as this, in shopping.
Maybe Linus had it right as he recites judiciously his take of ‘what Christmas is all about,’ in the favoured tale of “Charlie Brown’s Christmas.” Though not for everyone, as he is after all speaking about ‘Christmas.’ And yet we know other faiths also extoll such wisdom in the context of their own faith and beliefs. Even scientists are in awe of the stars, and for some, an occasional miracle. Linus reminds us that there are ways beyond our fears, and how peace is possible. We may be naysayers of the language, and the ‘truth’ of history, and yet myth ascribes to the greatest truth of all; their mechanics harbouring the ways possible for us to think abstractly, and yet justly in the context and backdrops of our time. Regardless of what we believe, or don’t believe, may we come together and share in the truth of maybe what ‘Christmas is all about,’ says Linus: “And on earth peace, and goodwill toward men.” May it be so.
I wish you all as gifts the joy of unexpected grace, and the sublime depth of understanding, compassion and empathy in your own lives. As you extend your benevolence toward the other, may you be reminded of your own spiritual poverty as the richness of the poor grows your heart into the shape of the wise. And may you know love. I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, and any other configuration of the festive and joyful season brings to you and yours. May we all come together in peace as we strive to bring the Light of Love into the world.
Please consider dropping by for the upcoming Open House. Details below. If not…. see you in the New Year!