Christmas is only a few days away and I find myself reflecting on this time in a very different way. Growing up in the Catholic tradition I was always aware that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I didn’t feel any kind of connection to this man who had been born some two thousand years earlier, so Christmas for me was more about Santa Claus and eating a roast dinner in my swimming costume while a fan swirled overhead.
As I grew older I enjoyed the pleasure of gift giving. I would make shortbread and post it with gifts to our family in Tasmania. Because I travelled and lived away most of my adult life, I was often embraced by friends family’s and shared Christmas in many different households and cities and countries. One year I had a white Christmas in a little cottage in County Wicklow, Ireland, with four Australian friends. Another year I sat at an incredible Italian banquet while my friends’ elderly Nona ate all the prawns from my plate.
I loved and appreciated being able to experience Christmas in many different homes and traditions, yet for me Christmas had little to do with anything sacred.
When I began my path as a spiritual student it was an Indian mystic that really introduced me to Jesus as a man and as a teacher. A friend spoke to me of Osho’s teachings and as a birthday gift, she gave me a copy of “The Mustard Seed”, which is an analysis of the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas. It was the first time I encountered this man Jesus outside the context of the Catholic Religion. I enjoyed knowing him striped of religious fanaticism. I loved to hear Osho and Eckhart Tolle and other teachers quote him or point to him to illustrate a concept, free of the ties of organised religion. I began to know him, liberated from the imagery of the crucifixion and the saintly baby in a manger.
However, this Christmas it is not Jesus that is the focus of my attention, it is Mary, his Mother. Now that I am a Mother and my heart is intertwined with yours, I have recognised just what Mary did. She gave birth to a child and that child was a gift to the world. I suddenly saw the incredible magnitude of that act. That is what every Mother is doing when she has a child, she is being a conduit for another soul to have the human experience, free to make their choices and create their own life.
We can observe the life path of so many and see how they contributed to our collective consciousness by their actions.
Did Putlibai Gandhi realise her baby son would one day be known as “The Father of India”? Did Khin Kyi understand that the infant daughter she held in her arms would one day win the Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights work in Burma? Did Alberta Williams King know that her beautiful boy would become a well-known civil rights activist with a reputation as one of the best orators in American history? They had no way of knowing. Yet look at what their children achieved. Look at their contributions to our world. Look at what they chose to do!
Every child is a gift and we are all somebody’s child. We are all capable of beautiful and powerful acts. Whether each act is seen as large or small it does not matter. If you touch one heart or many hearts, it is your bestowal, your donation of love to the world. There are many others who may seem to go unnoticed for their acts of change, kindness and compassion, yet they are not unseen by the divine.
When we are the highest version of ourselves and do not forget our divine connection, miracles happen. They may occur quietly or they may be trumpeted and shown to many, but they are miracles none the less.
I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to give birth to you. To be able to watch you develop and grow, and to ensconce you in safe keeping. You have an incredible opportunity just by being alive! An infinite array of experience awaits you!
So this Christmas, when our family shares presents and each other’s company, I shall not lose sight that you Seamus, are my gift to the world. May you shine brightly with your magnificence to remind others that they too, are gifts.
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others” – Dalai Lama XIV