This morning, the day after Christmas, or the 2nd Day of Christmas as you may prefer, I drew out my morning newspaper on this wet, misty morning with the following sticker on the front page, “Now get what you REALLY WANTED for Christmas!” When I pulled off the sticker, there was a $10 discount at a clothing store toward what you might really want. Later I opened up my email after breakfast and there appeared an offer from another area store to get right back out today and they will help you get what “Santa forgot!”
It never ends stops, does it, this endless search for the perfect thing, the perfect buzz, happiness that eludes us so often. Christmas could be the time to remind people again that joy, peace, and love are not contained much in things but in an understanding of who we are, the Eternal Children of God, connected forever in Spirit as One. I certainly don’t want to rail and scold for giving tangible gifts of love, but in our culture, the repression of guilt, frustration, and unremitted sacrifice, can be hard to overcome at times. We are constantly bombarded with ideas to make us truly complete and free, wonderfully happy. So we chase such illusions all our lives adding a bit more fuel to the effort at Christmas.
Years ago I visited India and was there on Easter Sunday in a small Anglican Prayer Center (formally “mission”) in Old Delhi. It wasn’t Christmas but I was used to at least bundles of “Easter Eggs” and candies. The prayer service that morning was slow and laced with many moments of silence and waiting in a old, musty chapel. After the prayers and silences, the prayers ended and we were invited afterwards to have a little extra with the morning tea. An English lady had visited and prepared for us a special cake, which I pointed out was called a “Pound Cake” in America. The leaders were obviously delighted in this simple small cake, divided up into several small, almost sacramental pieces for the participants. And there we ate in delightful simplicity, celebrating the Presence of the Risen Christ among us.
Mother Theresa of Calcutta once said in an interview that there was more poverty in America than in India, an interpretation that appeared quite drastic to one who had witnessed some of the poverty of India along its streets. What she meant was poverty in awareness of Spirit, of a more lasting joy than could be found in mansions on earth and the abundance of things. Although it seemed overly stated, I’m sure there is a point to be taken. The dissatisfaction among people in “rich nations,” the unhappiness with partners, families, and the discontent of one’s state in life seem overwhelming at times. Yet Christmas can remind us that joy and peace came through a poor and humble couple from the poorest part of their region, finding no room in the inn, and celebrating birth among cattle and sheep.
So I’m not rushing back out to the cathedrals of commerce quite yet. I am satisfied, I am at peace, I am content with Everything I have been given by creation. And as Dr. Seuss wrote so poignantly back in the 1960’s, we once again hear the Grinch as he,
…. puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!
Namaste to you all!