"...and the Grinch with his Grinch feet-ice-cold
in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It comes without ribbons.
It comes without tags.
It comes without packages or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
'What if Christmas', he thought,
doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas means a little bit more.'"
What are we celebrating again? Every year It comes around, even the Grinch cannot keep It down…It comes, no matter what or whom tries to get in Its way, It arrives—suddenly even if we-try-to-keep-It-at-bay…and our individual beliefs make It a festivity of our wish. We celebrate It—anyway...
This season, regardless of our histories and traditions, assumptions, prejudices and judgments, some how, something in us finds a way to be more than we are during the other months of the year.
We hurry. We fret and fear. We pause. We wonder: What did this year bring? What did we lose? What did we gain? Who- have-we-become-in-the-last-twelve-months? This time of year, even in the hustle and bustle of the days, we pause, perhaps privately when no one can catch our glance over our shoulder to see, our individual joy or sadness. Some of us, if we are lucky, will take the time to ponder what is it about this past year that we wish to bring into the coming New Year and what we would like to let go of.
My biological history is Catholic, Italian. My family celebrated the usual holidays: The birth of Jesus, then the natural arrival of Santa (the two on the same night always confused me as a little girl. I was filled with questions and curiosities. “Why? How? Where? When—are-you-sure-that- is-how-it-happened? Really? But…”) As I grew, so did my questions—and doubts.
Christmas and Chanukah. Actually it is Christmas that has driven the economy and Santa a bit crazy for the last few hundred years, and in more recent years, Chanukah has gotten material notoriety and contributed to the economical boost at this time of year as well.
We are living in an awe-inspiring time and also—an era of great fear for the wellbeing of our planet and all of its inhabitants: trees, children, animals, seas and the very air we breathe are threatened for the sustaining of life and the planet. All existence is in jeopardy. We are living in an age, where thought is recognized as things. We are aware of that thing called “karma” and how our deeds and misdeeds affect our world and the world around us. Are these “new” trends, phases and beliefs—really new? Perhaps we just keep cycling old beliefs and traditions, holidays and reword them, reshape their meaning and package and “market” them according to our new age.
The end of the year post is always my favorite to compose. It encompasses the past twelve months and with the closing of yet another year, we open to the possibilities (again) for the New Year coming in, with its unfolding uncertainties, past, present and future.
What is the real meaning of Christmas? Who is this Santa Claus and Jesus? Could it be that Jesus was merely a Perpetual Enthusiast and Santa the epitome of Spiritual Goodness? (and if Santa is so good, why not share him with all children?) Could it be that Jesus was so uber positive that He wanted to share the core of His being, that very center that embodies each one of us? Surely He recognized His inherent goodness that we, as humans is our birthright. (all-of-Us…) Could His message have been to help us see what He saw in himself, in us? We and He share that “spark” we feel whenever love is present in our close relationships. Jesus seemed to feel that with every-One.
What if Jesus’ message was just a humble and simple Gift to us, whether we are celebrating Chanukah or Christmas: Don’t suffer. (Forgive.) Be kind. Above all else Simply: Love.
What if Santa is just Jesus’ Understudy? Will He come back for His standing ovation? Will he stay away, humbly and ask all of Us, to step into His shoes or Santa’s Boots and make every day of the year a day of celebration—a re-minder of how to be good, simply because we can?
Centuries pass. Life changes. Traditions too, but there is one constant for the search for truth.
“In all ten directions of the universe,
there is only one truth.
When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same.
What can ever be lost? What can be attained?
If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time.
If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.
Look: this ball in my pocket:
Can you see how priceless it is?”
Japanese Zen poet, Ryokan
Whether it is Christmas or any other holiday, we are all searching for one divine truth. How that truth manifests within our families, traditions and selves, can be personal and at the same time we can find a universal truth. This is the essence of Holy-Day/holiday and this is the (secret) value we can find in all-of-Our-Days.