Gifts, Presence and Stacking Wood

A few days ago, I got a delivery of two cords of firewood.  Two cords is a pretty darn big pile of wood.  My young adult son (he’s actually my late sister’s child but I’ve been a parental role most of his life and he calls me mamma), is building a life and a career and currently lives in a large travel trailer he purchased a while back.

Back in the day I lived in a much smaller travel trailer for a number of years and I loved it.  Jonathan’s is infinitely nicer than mine was and he has put a ton of work into making it really sharp.  However, it doesn’t have a washer and drier.

Soooo, I schemed a little bit.  I let him know I had a huge pile of wood – and an available washer and drier!  Actually, he does laundry over here pretty often but I thought it might be nice to get a bit done while we were busting out the wood stacking.

As we lifted, stacked and worked up a little sweat, we chatted, talked about life plans, daydreamed a bit about the new truck driving career he has embarked on, and  joked and poked fun at one another.  We shared old memories and laughed and laughed.  He’s brahma bull strong and a serious worker and to my surprise we got the whole pile nicely stacked in my little wood shed.  While a load of his laundry was drying, I told him I’d love to have him show me the recent improvements he’d made on his RV home so he drove me over and showed me his work, which I affirmed looked really great.

Back at my house, we watched a bit of football (one of my guilty pleasures for sure) and I gave him a short upper back massage.

That night he sent me a text, “Thx for the awesome nite!”

His enthusiasm surprised me a bit.  After all, all we had really done was a bunch of manual labor, laundry and a quick tour of his little house.  He doesn’t even really doesn’t like watching football.   It was a sweet reminder that meaningful giving isn’t about a pile of presents, but quality presence, really being with someone, even just being together having some fun doing the mundane stuff.

Our friends and loved ones, like us, want to feel seen, validated, and loved for who they are- to belong to us and feel deeply connected to us.  The commercial consumerist culture would have us heap material stuff on them, but far more meaningful is the gift of our attention and our love and laying down memories together.   It costs nothing to pay attention and all love felt and given is a gift not only to the loved one but to ourselves and our world.  A Course in Miracles teaches that every gift we give “away” is actually a gift to ourselves, that we receive Spirit’s grace in everything we bestow upon another.

This time of year, when there is so much emphasis on stuff, on buying and giving things, I find so much value in keeping my eye on the ball of Presence — Presence with my loved ones and Presence with Spirit.

In November and December there are at least twenty-eight holidays and nearly all have something to do with celebrating light and shining light into darkness.  Being a good pagan from way back, my favorite is Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, and the official beginning of winter.  From Dec. 22nd forward, days steadily gain a bit more light; as we move through deep winter, the Earth readies for the next surge of new growth.

Given my rather awful childhood experience with a certain religion, it has only been the past few years that I’ve been able to reclaim the Christ in Christmas.  This holiday isn’t about the birth of a single human-being but about the epic journey each of us in on to recognize/ remember our own Christ consciousness, our own Divinity, and our true identities as spiritual beings having a human experience.

I am certainly finding that that is by far the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

Christmas Rebirth

Over the years my view of the meaning of Christmas has shifted a lot. Raised Christian, I understood it was a celebration of the birth of Jesus, but really, as far as I was concerned, it was all about the presents! My family was of pretty modest means but my parents got serious about Christmas and I loved it. I was so excited that for a stretch of several years, when both parents were off at work I would carefully remove my gifts from under the little tree, unwrap them, play with them a bit and then rewrap them before my parents got home.  They were none the wiser until many years later when I confessed my powerlessness over curiosity and anticipation.

As a young adult, I learned that the Christmas holiday had been placed in winter in an effort to drain some of the energy from the pagan celebrations around Winter Solstice. Although an unfortunate attempt by one culture to blot out another, there was nice symmetry between the two stories. On the one hand, seekers following the light of the Christmas star to witness a miracle. On the other, nature-oriented folks celebrating making it through the longest night of the year and moving once again toward light and warmth.

More recently my interpretation of Christmas has deepened. The power in this observance is not just celebrating the physical birth of an extraordinary human being or taking note of the turning of the seasons; the true power is in the opportunity for rebirth of Christ consciousness within.  This is the part of us that remembers we are much more than bodies, the part that remembers our inextricable connection to the Creator, the Source of all life.

I was raised believing Jesus and Christ are synonyms.  They aren’t.  Christ is a state of consciousness available to all of us.  Jesus was a human being who became fully aware of his innate Christ consciousness. I was also raised to believe that Jesus preached it had to be his way or the highway, but I now understand he was a way-shower, trying to guide others back to a living awareness of our inner Christ, the indwelling presence of God.

This time of year we cover our homes, businesses and churches with lights in celebration of Christmas and as a way to brighten the longest nights of the year. We mount electric representations of the star of Bethlehem and light candles in acts of reverence. This is all beautiful but the light that really matters isn’t a star in the sky or lengthening days, it’s the growing illumination of who we each truly are — magnificent, divine beings having a wild human ride.

Christmas is a special time indeed.  It’s an opportunity to review where we are spiritually, to feel the rebirth of our inner awareness of Source, and to resolve to let our own glorious light shine as a beacon of love, peace and hope for others. That is the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas!


#cylviahayes  #empowerment #InnerChristmas