It’s that time of year when we start thinking of gift giving to those closest and dearest to us, of feasts and celebrations, Hanukkah, Christmas, and the celebration of winter solstice. It’s a time of gathering those we love the most, of laughing with them, of noticing the very best in them (sometimes difficult to do at a family gathering!), and of celebrating ancient spiritual and religious traditions and the great abundance we all share by exchanging gifts and preparing sumptuous meals. Sounds great, and yet… Is there something missing? During this season of celebration, do you feel filled up or perhaps empty? There sure is a lot of emphasis on the spirit of the season. Where does the spirit come from, and when does it arrive?
In case you are in doubt, I love the trappings and history of Christmas, the traditions that have arisen since approximately 336 AD when Christmas was first celebrated. I deeply respect the Jewish celebration of the victory of the Maccabees over Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 165 BC—Hanukkah. Winter solstice is an ancient celebration of being happy and thankful to be alive as the days become longer and of sharing stored abundance. All are long-established and meaningful celebrations of spiritual freedom and hope for humanity. The spirit of these traditional holy days is laden with joy, love, pride, acceptance, shared abundance, reverence for life, and peace. How do we bring the spirit back if we do not feel it?
So often as I walk through shops and grocery stores looking at the faces of people as they prepare for the holidays, I feel sad that I see so little joy and very little of the glow that I associate with peace. As I walk, I wonder what each person’s life is like and if there is any way I can brighten their day. A smile, a nod, and I am gone. What else?
What would happen if that father of three toddlers or that teenage beauty were to go back to their car and find a letter on the windshield addressed simply “To you.” They may be impatient as they open it, maybe wondering what kind of come-on this is, and then they read the words in my handwriting.
“You are no different than any person on this earth, and you are…you are light and truth and humor and love and beauty. You are endless and timeless. I do not know you, and yet I do. I love you in this precious moment of this thing we call time. We are travelling through time together, even though you do not know me. I honor how you are caring for those you love, especially yourself. I feel your pain and separation, and I delight in your joy. My life is enriched knowing there are people like you in our world. The greatest gift you have to offer is you.
Thank you for being simply you. With love, all things are possible.”
Any number of things could happen. Hopefully, one of them being the person would know that someone cared and wished to send a message of love and acknowledgment, a love letter straight from the heart.
Imagine going into an airport, opening the phone book, choosing a name, or several names, and writing a love letter straight from the heart, mailing it, and hopping on your plane. Imagine choosing a distant family member, or even one who is close, and sharing your thoughtful words. Imagine sending your words of peace and love out into the world, your own words, words that speak to your soul. Unconditional caring and giving—isn’t that what we all want to experience? And yet so often we wait for another to initiate, to come find us. Please stop waiting and start loving.
I think I have just created a new tradition for myself that takes me back to the spirit of our ancient traditions. It brings back the feeling of holy days into my everyday life.
Will you join me, at least once? When we look for ways to love and acknowledge, that’s usually what we find. And when we share them with the world, our world is rich with meaning.
How would you feel if you received a love letter straight from the heart? Write it and give it away now.
1. What traditions do you practice to celebrate the abundance in your life (e.g., Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, other)?
2. How are the things you do fulfilling and meaningful for you? How are they stressful, perhaps draining?
3. Painting a new picture of how you want to celebrate, what will you do differently?
4. Who do you think would want to receive a love letter straight from the heart from you?
With love and gratitude,