Poem: Christmas Feelings

Christmas Feelings

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December 21 2011

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The music plays —  Santa, snow, and reindeer frolic through the notes.

I’m sitting in a fast food joint, knowing that I used to feel excited

When I heard these tunes;   what was I looking forward to?

Now, in older age, I’m  finding Christmas  songs  irrelevant.

Is that also true of Christmas?

In childhood, I could barely wait; the days dragged on forever before Christmas.

Then, in parenthood, it wasn’t about me;

 I yearned to give my family the magic I myself  had sought in youth. 

Now, in elderhood,  I see my family too have moved along. 

We’ve all  lost the  innocent belief that plenty, giving, gifts, and feasting would bring us bliss.

In those Christmas days of yore, the long awaited giving and receiving was always disappointing. 

The night of Christmas and the days that followed were just ordinary times. 

Nothing changed, in all those years of Christmases – nothing important. 

Except, I finally learned – it took me long enough! – that bliss comes from within;

That delight – the  happiness  for which I longed each year –

Is with me all the time, a gift of spirit right along with love, forgiving, and awareness. 

I don’t have to wait for one day of the year – I can find my bliss in silence in each moment. 

My Christmases have multiplied, and the one Star of my youth has expanded

Into firmaments and galaxies – the infinity of God. 

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Reflection

All through my youth, the Church carried on an endless campaign to “Put the Christ Back in Christmas.”   Along with many others, I mouthed the words, and thought them justified, sort of.  They also kind of took what seemed like the” fun” out of Christmas.  Manger scenes, Christmas pageants, and Christmas carols were charmingly seasonal, as were images of Santa, dreams of gifts rather than lumps of coal, a belief that Santa was All-Knowing and All-Giving,  holy cards and Christmas cards with the Virgin, the infant, the ox and the ass, and hosts of gorgeous angels clothed in white robes.  Legends abounded, and magic seemed to permeate the air as Christmas approached.  It was about finding happiness and peace and joy as the Christ child was born.  It was also about being good rather than evil, and being rewarded for our virtue with gifts of whatever we could think we wanted.

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 Today, I’m thinking that Santa was clearly a metaphor for God – all wise, all joyful,  all wonderful.  In a backward sort of way, my Christmas excitement about presents and wishes coming true really was a yearning for divine love and personhood.  Jesus manifested as a human to show us, through his example, how to perceive, trust, and receive the joyful abundance that comes from loving the Divine.  By becoming human, he accepted his inevitable human death.  But while daringly present in human form,  he showed us the  love and joy we are all meant to experience – all the time, not just one day of the year. As I learn more and more about gifts of God, Christmas  expands to include – potentially – all the days of every year.  What a wonderful, satisfying, and truly exciting gift!  Tinfoil, bright wrapping paper, and the suspense of waiting to see what’s inside each package are only pale suggestions of the gifts that Christmas is actually about. 

 

 

 

About Rev. Rosemary Hyde, Ph.D.

I am a grandmother, a classical homeopath, a mystical poet, and an interfaith minister. I also have a large, enduring place in my heart for Paris. I first spent time in Paris in 1961, as a Fulbright scholar. I remained in France for three years, living also in Toulouse and in Nancy. I have revisited France and Paris multiple times since then, and have come to know central Paris reasonably well. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where there were many Franco-Americans, and their language fascinated me. I was fortunate in 6th grade, when my family moved, to find myself in a Catholic French speaking girls' school, where I had the wonderful fortune of becoming bilingual. It still feeds my soul deeply, to visit Paris, speak French, and reconnect with the little French girl in me. I am serving presently as co-minister at Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill, NC. I give talks one or two Sundays a month -- please go to the website, www.unitychapelhill.org, and sign up for the weekly e-news to learn what's going on -- special events, seasonal interfaith ceremonies, and Sunday themes and talks. My vision for the Unity Chapel Hill ministry and for myself is to become a loving, uniting presence in the lives of all those who cross paths with us. That's all there is, really -- loving presence. And so it is. Amen. My goal as a minister is to add richness to life for those who resonate to more than one religious tradition or to none -- those with mixed religions as well as the unchurched, untempled, and unmosqued. All of us, whatever our cultural allegiances, hunger for and need support in finding the transcendent joy that's ours to find in this earthly life. All of us need and want to celebrate beautifully the great and small milemarker moments. All of us crave the beauty of prayer as an expression of our participation in universal love. All of us wish to learn a greater vision, to see our lives opening to the Divine. All of us desire deeply to find serenity and peace that lasts no matter what happens today and tomorrow. This is the meaning of Transcendessence. We find the essence of spirit and transcend the narrow constraints of our bodies and egos. Join us today by subscribing, so you won't miss a single poem, message, prayer, or meditation.
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