While looking back and remembering some childhood memories, I have to admit that Christmas always has been a very special time for me.
Although I have been raised roman-catholic I’ve never really seen an unconditional connection between this event and the church. For me the church was never explained by the adults in an understandable way. There were so many contradictions. Why would the church not sell all the gold-plated figures and angels to have enough money to help the poor? Why was a church meant to be an unconditional refuge when the priests’ first question would be looking for the sins of a person? Why was I constantly sent to confess my sins when I wasn’t even aware of committing them? Yes, of course I did not always obey to what my mother said, but in our religious class at school the sins that were mentioned in the bible were horrible like siblings who killed each other or father’s who killed their children “in the name of God”????? No, honestly I didn’t understand and so I made up my own interpretation of Christmas.
For me there was a young boy, who although he had been born in a stable under very poor circumstances, was blessed with wonderful parents who loved him unconditionally and people who brought him gifts to honor his uniqueness and to help him become a self-confident, strong person in order to implement his mission statement, that was to save the world. And one of his messages that he communicated every Christmas was to become a child again and be touched by the little miracles that continuously happen around us if we just listened and observed, if we just could develop this child-like innocent curiosity again, without expectations, without assumptions and without judgement.
In Bavaria there is no Santa with reindeer; we are talking about the “Christkind”, Christ’s Child who brings us much more that worldly gifts. Christ’s Child brings us magical and healing gifts of wholeness, love, peace and understanding.
I always felt the magic of the season deep in my heart. I felt it in the beautiful Bavarian conifer forests, walking alongside frozen creeks and seeing the sunbeams trying to melt the icicles hanging down from the eaves gutters of the farm houses. There simply was an indescribable stillness, calmness and peacefulness in the air that seemed to slow down everything, at least for me.
When it started to snow I used to stare into the sky and forgot space and time over the big flakes floating towards my face, melting on my skin, in my eyes and on my tongue. I forgot about all the hectic around me and indeed was wondering how everybody could go on without stopping, without wondering, without being contaminated by the spirit of Christmas.
I think the biggest part in feeling so enchanted about this season was my grandmother. She did not take part in the business that was going on. She always seemed so calm, peaceful and loving. She was the first person in my life who I could sit next to for a long time without saying a word. I thought if I was to say something it would destroy that deep soulful connection that we had at any given moment.
So, we were waiting together, my grandma and I for the bell my mother would ring to invite us to come downstairs into the living room were my parents had been preparing everything for the Christmas Eve celebration over the last weeks; weeks of endless arguments between them about work, money, gifts, the Christmas tree and the dinner.
When I see photos of WWI about enemies singing Christmas songs together at the Western Front in 1914 I have to think about my parents. They tried to do the same during one evening of the year at Christmas Eve. And sometimes they couldn’t even keep it up those few hours. But listening to my grandma’s angel-like voice allowed me to withdraw from family drama and indulge in Christ’s loving spirit anyway.
For me Christmas is not about donating money once a year instead of actively listening to people who need to bear their hearts to us. The message of humanity is important all year through and it starts inside the family. It also is about widening the perspective about raising children in a way that allows them to develop their unique personality without wrong doctrines.
When I wandered through Little Qualicum Falls Park today I felt the magical Christmas Spirit again and as my thoughts drifted back to my childhood, I decided to write this post. I feel that today it’s more important than ever before to share thoughts and emotions with all of you out there in the world to create a momentum of discussion about the meaning of Christmas because it may be in certain ways different and at the same time similar to all of us.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a gift of wholeness, healing, love, peace and understanding wherever you may be!