One Christmas Eve I was driving around with friends, admiring neighborhood Christmas lights. They "oohed" and "ahed" in the front seat while I sat in the back, staring out the window, wondering how the commercial extravaganza starring Santa Claus got scheduled on the same day as the celebration of the birth of Jesus who, by all accounts, was not at all materialistic (although he had quite a way with loaves and fishes). I recalled that I had begun wondering about my parents’ religion when I found out that Santa Claus was make-believe. If Santa was a myth, what did that say, for instance, about the story of the resurrection of Jesus?
My thoughts drifted to a scene from earlier that week when I had given a holiday gift, a candle, to one of my adult piano students. I told her I recognized her special inner light and honored the care and effort she was making to bring something meaningful - music - into her life. She was open to learning, cultivating creativity and beauty.
And then I got it! At the darkest time of the year - the Winter Solstice - as we celebrate the earth turning once more toward the sun, we also honor the renewal of the light which is within each of us, the rekindling of the Spirit of Wonder, by offering each other gifts, just as the Wise Men brought gifts to Baby Jesus. I made peace with the gift-giving aspect of the holiday season. I was able to rejuvenate my belief in Santa Claus when I regarded him as the part of each one of us which is able to recognize and appreciate the divine essence in all our fellow travelers, and my awe of Jesus, who shows us the way of love, peace, and compassion.
This Solstice Season give yourself the gift of reconnecting with your inner light. Gently closing your eyes, put your awareness on your heart center, in the middle of your chest. Picture a light glowing there, like a small sun. Inhale directly to that glowing star, drawing in sweetness and warmth. Exhaling, allow the sweetness and warmth to spread throughout your chest. Continue breathing like this, basking in the glow of your inner light.
Now imagine a time in your upcoming day when you’ll be around other people. Imagine yourself recognizing and appreciating the inner heart light in each of the people you encounter.
As you go through your day, take a moment to remember your own divine essence, as well as to see the divine essence shining from your fellow travelers.
“After all this time the sun doesn’t say to the earth, You owe me. Look what happens with a love like that - it lights up the whole sky.” -Hafiz