today is christmas.
for christians, it is the day that is assigned to the birth of jesus. for earth religion types, it is the end of the three days of ‘sun standing still’ and the beginning of day’s increase. the underworld of darkness has birthed the new light, and with it, the promise of another spring.
gifts and sharing are traditional to christian and pre-christian celebrations of this time of year. in earth religions, we honor the season by bringing in a living evergreen, by lighting candles and sharing the last of the long nights with others. we pay homage to the divine in life and the cycles therein. the gifts we share with others remind us of the gift of light that has been granted by the season.
this year, my daughter and i decided not to allow the corporate shambling presence a place in our celebrations. there are no piles of brightly wrapped gifts under a phony or dying tree. there is a living blue spruce to be planted in our yard on imbolc. there are candles lit at night while we gather near one another to talk about a wide variety of subjects. her curious mind is my daily delight.
yesterday, while discussing the fact that we would be sharing christmas with my mom, bringing some food and such, ziona told me that she understood why people exchange gifts on holidays, but that she knew the best gifts were things that couldn’t be wrapped up with paper or tied with a bow. she said she was grateful that all her needs are fulfilled. then she said something very wise.
“i’m even glad that there are things that i still want and don’t have” she said.
at first i was taken aback by the statement. i looked at her to see if there was a “like i really would like to have a ___________” coming next. as tho perhaps her statement was the beginning of a hint for a gift she wanted to get.
but without giving myself and suspicious thoughts away, i merely followed up with “it’s nice to still have things to look forward to.” still half-believing that a veiled request was on the way. but it was not and i was left to feel sheepish about how wrong i had been. because she went on to say that she was happy that she had the best things already.
you guessed it, she meant love.
then she quickly excused herself and said, “that reminds me, i’ve gotta get something out of my room for your gift” nearly tearing up, i wondered what on earth she had hidden away. she emerged with her hands behind her back and came to me saying, “this is my best present for you”… i waited
she lunged at me throwing her arms around my back, burying her head in my chest. “here it is!” she said.
i thought my heart would burst with joy. altho i should’ve seen it coming.
she hadn’t missed christmas, all the gifts and wrappings one bit. instead she displayed her wise understanding of the fact that the best presents we the ones we already have for each other. just an arms length away for the taking!