Yesterday some colleagues and I were sharing our family traditions surrounding the holidays. It was very nice to reflect upon all the little and big things we do to mark this time as extra special. After the sharing concluded I had the simple realization that it all goes back to love... the giving, the receiving, the experiencing of love.
Why do I put the the same old Christmas towels out every December… because they remind me of many Christmases growing up when our home was transformed into a holiday haven — a place I felt deeply loved.
Why do I bake and frost the cut-out cookies with my daughters… because it reminds me of my mother doing so with me — a relationship in which I felt treasured.
Why do I send my nephew a different snowflake ornament every year… because I want to remind him that, like a snowflake where no two are ever the same, he too is unique and amazing — I want him to feel cherished.
As a person raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, I have an appreciation for ritual and symbol, for using the physical to signify and stimulate the spiritual.
I value the awakening of the five senses. For example, this time of year I especially enjoy seeing a candle flicker… hearing the sound of a Christmas hymn… smelling pine needles from an evergreen… feeling the touch of a warm, fuzzy blanket… and the taste of a dutch almond pastry.
Our senses remind us that we are alive in this moment in time. We are people, after all, mammals who live in a human body. We depend upon the material world for our habitat and sustenance. Yet beyond meeting our basic needs, as corporeal creatures we have a way of relating to one another through the tangible. We take pleasure in sharing comforts, cards, presents, and customs with one another because it expresses something meaningful in fixed form, something that marks love is shared here.
Materialism for materialism’s sake is no good. But it is a beautiful thing when our material world is a reflection of love manifested. To give a gift that brings a bit of the heart along with it is a blessing to savor indeed.
This holiday season, let’s keep in mind how it all goes back to love.
May you be inspired!