This time of year, when family and community expect so much of us, we tend to forget ourselves. We overlook the value of a quiet moment alone, or the simple pleasure of taking a deep breath. We forget to be still...and to feel life coursing effortlessly through us.
It’s popular to sing about peace and tranquility during the holidays, but tranquility hardly stands a chance. How can we be at peace when we’re besieged by old habits and conflicting messages? We exchange gifts without feeling. We give thanks while itemizing our misfortunes. We sing about brotherly love while fighting tooth-and-nail for a few holiday bargains.
The human dream moves at frantic pace and comes with deafening commentaries. It’s as if we’re bone-weary runners in an ongoing marathon, where everyone– everyone– is shouting directions from the sidelines. We may like to crawl into a cave and tune it all out...but, if we do, we’ll never understand transcendence. We’ll never feel what it’s like to rise above the insanity that we helped to create. We’ll never learn how to love the world we’re in, no matter what.
A fool on a hill is just another fool. The wisest human beings don’t sit alone on a mountaintop. They don’t place themselves far and away from their fellow humans. They participate in the folly. They’re not appalled by the dream of humanity. They play with it.
The wisest among us are not defeated– either by the chaos in their own heads or the pressures of society. They’re generous with their presence, but avoid the drama.
They remain in the eye of the storm. They never forget to take those deep breaths...and to love themselves without condition.
There’s a story told by humans over the ages about a Prince of Peace, born long ago in a certain place and at a certain time. The story is told many ways in many different traditions. Some say ‘the Christ' was born...but, what is Christ, if not someone who has challenged his own lies and triumphed over them? What is a savior, if not someone who has saved himself through love?
Who is a prince of peace, if not you, if not me?
Take the opportunity this season to be what legend says you were born to be. Breathe deeply. See clearly. Laugh! Be merry and make the yuletide bright. Take pure joy in the antics of human beings. Love the unlovable. Forgive the unforgivable. Don’t let your stories defeat you– and, yes, love yourself without condition.
Enjoy being right here, caught up in the dream of humanity, even as you create a dream of heaven on Earth.