This year, more than others it seems, I’ve been occasionally lost in thoughts about the time of year it is. Growing up, I only thought Christmas was celebrated at this time of year. Now, at 69, I’ve come to realize that there are many other spiritual and cultural celebrations that happen during the dark of the year.
When you’re a child, though, no matter what holiday is celebrated in your home, you look at it with awe and wonder. There is a sense of giddy excitement as you wait, with anticipation, for that day to finally arrive. Rich or poor, it matters not. Hope seems to spring eternal in the heart of a child waiting for that special day.
In our culture, all too quickly, the magick and wonder of this season is taken from us as we grow older and eventually become adults. Commercialization – “Buy! Buy! Buy! Spend! Spend! Spend!” – seems to just totally eliminate the joy and wonder of the season. Is it no wonder that many adults have come to have a “Bah-humbug!” attitude about the holiday season?
I read a post somewhere this week, maybe on Facebook, that said, “When you stop believing in Santa you get socks for Christmas.” Now whether you celebrate Christmas or one of the many other holidays of this season, I believe, in essence, that one statement holds a whole lot of truth in it. For Santa is merely a representation of the spirit of the season.
Caring, sharing, love, joy and hope are all good words to describe what is meant by our seasonal celebrations. Most of these words come from the origins of many of our celebrations. When the nights were long and cold; when fires blazed to keep homes warm and families gathered by those fires to share a meal and each others’ company, there was joy and hope that Spring, with its longer days and warmer temperatures, would return. Until then, people had the company of each other and the love they shared along with the stored food and warmth of the fire to share with each other as they waited for long Winter nights to grow shorter.
For many of us, that has been forgotten. For some it may never have been known. Thus, the holidays become a burdensome, expensive chore rather than a celebration of love, joy and hope. Our childhoods are faint memories. Our children may never know the joy and wonder we knew because we’ve lost the ability to teach them the real meaning and feelings behind the holidays we celebrate. Is it any wonder that some of them only care about what new iPhone you can buy them or how much you will spend on them this year?
I truly don’t mean to sound so depressing or morbid. We are in a time of immense change and it causes me to pause and contemplate different things. This came about when I realized I don’t really look forward to the holidays anymore. I used to love to decorate the house – and I did it all year round for many holidays like Valentine’s Day, Spring Equinox (some would call it Easter), Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, Halloween, and then, of course, Yule. I found myself uninterested in doing it this year and finally decorating for Yule out of habit. That led me to this current train of thought.
Where has my child-like wonder and awe gone? Where is my joy at the changing of the seasons? Has my inner child curled up in a ball or gone off in a corner to pout because the adult has become so immersed in my mundane day-to-day living that I’ve forgotten she’s still alive and well and wanting still to experience the joy and wonder of each day – let alone the holidays? Do I find myself without hope because every day has become the same as the day before it? Thus, there is no anticipation, no wonder for me? I really hope this is not the case, but sometimes you need to ask yourself the hard questions.
Truth be told, every day should be a day of caring, sharing, love, joy, and hope. All of these emotions are not dependent on anything or anyone external. It’s an inside job…always an inside job. I know there are others out there who have forgotten they have an inner child. Perhaps it’s time to consciously make contact with him or her, especially now, at this time of year and allow ourselves to look at things from that child’s perspective once more. There certainly can’t be any harm in that, can there?
The greatest gifts we can ever give or receive can’t be bought – not at Wal-Mart nor Amazon nor anywhere else. The greatest gifts come straight from the heart – love, joy, hope, appreciation, gratitude. What we’ve also forgotten is that these same gifts we can give to ourselves, as well as to others, each and every day. If we can just manage to look for the magick in each day, be grateful and appreciate for even the simplest of things in our lives, we would begin to open ourselves to experiencing the awe and wonder of our inner child.
Don’t get me wrong, folks. I’m a practical person and could use some new socks to keep my feet warm during the Winter in Ohio. What I could use more is to return to those feelings that I experienced as a child where each new day held magick and infinite possibilities; where the heart quickens at the mere thought of possible adventure and surprise; where my own smile warmed me more than any sweater or coat possibly could. These are the gifts I truly wish for this holiday season.
May your own personal Santa bring to you what you desire most this holiday season!