The Story of Christmas

The Story of Christmas

No, not that story. Your story. What is your story of Christmas? Is it Merry and Ho Ho Ho? Or is there something of an edge there? Or is it a mask over pain? Something you’d rather avoid altogether?

Christmas time is one of the best times of the year for spiritual growth. Not only is there a great deal of attention on happiness, peace, and love, but it is also a time of year that will highlight what needs some attention in you. What you’ve been holding on to.

Many of us were raised with rather odd messages. For example, the Christian sacrifice, mixed in with Santa’s better be good. Throw in a dose of guilt and dashed expectations and you have the recipe for suffering. The lost child. Add in all the marketing hype and commercialization of Christmas for new expectations and entitlements and you have a focus to bring out our darker side.

If we continue down this road, Christmas can become a time we’d rather not remember nor celebrate. We will find ourselves in avoidance behavior or churning our troubles. This can take many forms:
– cocooning over the holidays, withdrawing
– throwing the whole ‘spiritual’ or Christmas thing out, perhaps blaming the ads
– thoughtless things like pointless gifts and guilt over same
– a lot of raw emotions and drama, reactivity
– excess spending – either as avoidance or attempts to compensate or make amends. Many relationships falter over money and Christmas can be the fulcrum of that.
– excess sacrifice, the need for the event to be perfect. I notice many boomers have largely stopped entertaining the way they used to.
– excess food and drink.

Of course, we can expect some excess and heightened emotions in celebration – that’s natural. But if it’s not about peace and light, then we’re bringing some past to the table.

In other words, its a very good time of year for emotional mindfulness. Feeling when we are resisting or holding back. Seeing the drama arising and doing the work necessary to fully see it, to allow the feelings to be expressed within so you can clear the decks as it were. To allow it so you can let it go.

Really, it all comes down to choice. Do you want this to be the best Christmas ever? Then you are dooming yourself to suffering. Would it not be better to do the work, open the heart, and find the peace they talk about so much this time of year? Just make it the Christmas that it is. You might be surprised what a load that takes off.

Peace be with you, as it already is. That is the way to Peace on Earth. As John said, if you want it.

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  1. Louise

    Thank you for this timely message, Davidya. My son is moving to a far-away state and, as a result, my comfort level feels compromised. Having him close has been most reassuring to me. This will be our last Christmas where it is easy to be together and I don’t know when we will enjoy another Christmas together. I see if I continue to think I must make this one very special, that the very thought causes the opposite to arise, resistance. As you say, to do so is “dooming myself to suffering.” Low expectation = low dissappointment and is much easier on everyone, truly. Always the nest builder, pre-occupied with it to a fault, and perhaps that is evidence of my own fear. Thank you for the reminder to let it be.

  2. Davidya

    Hi Louise
    A deeper value of leaving the nest. But it’s not necessary to use words like last. It is simply change. Distance is not a barrier to the heart. And now you know why many travel at Christmas. (laughs) What will be discussed is who can – will he come to you or you to him. Last year, I went to my sons for the first time – they’d come here for years. This year, we couldn’t do it so we’ll visit in the spring.

    The trick is not low expectation. Low expectation can lead to lower disappointment but also itself is a sign of resistance or fear. It is any expectation that is suffering. Being without expectation is when we can see it as it is. Of course, this is challenging at this time of year (laughs) – indeed all the advertising and Xmas specials are all about expectations…

    Nest building is not the fault. It is natural. As is fear when your young leave the nest. The difficulty is in the holding. The resisting change. See how bird mothers kick their kids out. (laughs) How many years have you been a mother? This change is a change even in identity. When you move past this, you may even find a deeper value of freedom where your life choices are simply yours.

  3. Nancee

    Thanks for the reminder. This is definitely a c/mas of change for me… and although I was pleased with my over all attitude I did find sitting home tonight (“alone”) was bringing a drop in mood. I look forward to waking up in the morning and accepting C/mas day in the heart of the peace you mentioned. IF old things rise up may I find the courage to calmly let them pass on through…

    1. Davidya

      Hi Nancee
      Yes, its been a different one for me too this year. Curiously, friends aborted travel plans have lead to some unexpected cheer. (this area has had far more snow than usual – as you know) Christmas is when the sun begins to rise in the sky again. A time of reflection and coming new year. Just remember that what may arise is the past, what has been. Not what is. If we can have the courage to just see it, that’s all you need.

      Thanks for sharing. May your heart see with open arms.

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