They say that Christmas, with all its hope, wonder, and magic, is a time for children. I say, more now than ever before, that Christmas is for adults.
We big ones have lived through an unprecedented year of challenges, personal, global, and planetary. I don’t have to list the challenges, you know them already or are just coming out of a deep coma. Yet here we are, on the brink of a new year, and isn’t it full of hope and wonder? (And deep in our hearts don’t we wish for it to have just a little magic, too?) The days are almost at their darkest and shortest. Its time to tuck in, stay warm, and consider the year that was. No, don’t turn from it and wish it away. Look at this year head-on and thank it for exposing so much darkness to the light, for darkness can only be banished when it is held up to the light. Undoubtably the year held challenges for all of us, yet we have come through or are coming through these challenges and light is appearing at the end of this long, dark tunnel. We may have gotten through clawing and screaming but by the grace of all the gods we are here, alive and breathing. Isn’t that cause enough for wonder?
If not, step outside. No matter where you live, city, town or farm, seaside, desert, or forest, step outside tonight. It doesn’t have to be for long, but do step outside and look up. Consider the moon if you can see it, if not, the brightest star. If clouds are all you see, consider them too, condensing and puffing up to deliver rain or snow. Consider the fleeting life of a cloud in relation to your life, then consider the moon or that bright star in relation to your life. That’s the same moon that looked down on Jesus and Mary, Buddha, Abraham and Muhammad, dinosaurs and mastodons, dodo birds and passenger pigeons, your great-great grandparents and aunts and uncles. Yet here YOU stand under that same moon or star, as temporary as a cloud but just as important. For just as a cloud carries the moisture that nourishes the world, your one beating heart carries the love that feeds the world. Can you feel the wonder, dare I even say magic, of your oh-so tiny but oh-so important singular life?
Now go back inside and envision if you will, a Christmas tree, decked out just the way you like it. Under that tree is a single present, a great big, gaily wrapped box. What do you think is in the box? What do you want to be in the box? Well, start to unwrap it. Bow first, then the ribbon, then all the pretty paper. Pull the flaps away and what do you see inside?
Do you know want to know what I got? I got a great big box of hope, and surprise! so did you! Yes, it has been a dark, dark year, but as Desmond Tutu says, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
So these are the gifts I wish for all adults at this, the darkest, most profound time of year – the willingness to look for magic, the ability to feel wonder, and the profound comfort of hope. May you find them all and hold them close.