Living Arts Weekly: Small, Beautiful Gestures

December 27, 2020

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.     –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Celebrating Christmas has taken a comparatively unusual form this year. Gatherings were smaller, and for some may not have amounted to much at all. Many may have been postponed due to quarantines or infections. For the least fortunate of us, the holiday was overshadowed by death, severe illness, or financial trouble. It is truly easy to feel the sadness and loss that is occurring on a much grander scale this year. Yet, many people also stepped up from a distance to shine a little brighter as well.

My sister-in-law and her mother have been “sprinkling” anonymous gifts on random doorsteps for months now, and certainly didn’t stop short of bringing holiday cheer into it. “Sprinkling” has been happening all over the nation since at least last summer. Each night for weeks, a friend of mine sweetly serenaded her many family members at a distance with their favorite Christmas carols over video. I was blessed to celebrate Christmas with my “family pod” but we took the opportunity to include our grandparents by surprising them with Christmas carols at their doorsteps last Saturday. And now, one of my sisters and her husband will join a small fleet of friends, as they have for the last decade or so, to pass out socks and snacks to the homeless this New Year’s Day.

I know these are just a few stories- local to me- of how Christmas was re-imagined or extended to those in need. I wonder who else has engaged in some creative celebrations? And how?

Last year, my older boys and I read A Christmas Carol for the first time. Certainly I was very familiar with the story, having seen the play and movie versions a multitude of times. However, reading it revitalized the old tale for me with a humor and depth I didn’t appreciate well enough before then. How did I miss, for so many years, the actual profundity of this message? “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year…” Christmas day comes but once a year, yet we have 364 other days to shine for each other as well!

And if we deeply examine what Christmas means, as Ebenezer finally learned to do, we will even reach beyond these small, but beautiful gestures to a way of living that unites us through the common goals deep within our hearts.

“The Mystery which the Christmas Child brought into the world contains this — to look at a goal in common, without discord among us. For the common goal implies union and harmony. The light of Christmas should shine as a light of peace, a light that brings peace outside, only because first of all it sheds an inner peace into the hearts of men. We should understand this and say together: Let us realise this and work together with love in the great task. Then, and only then, shall we understand Christmas.” –Rudolf Steiner, The Search for the New Isis, Divine Sophia

May Christmas be with you every day of this year.

With love,

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