Live as if Every Day is Christmas

Christmas tree and fireplace
Warmth of the fire and the Christmas Spirit (Photo by Ekaterina Kasimova on Unsplash)

Maybe you felt a spark of the Christmas spirit this past week. For many people, this year may have been a little dimmer than usual. If so, I want to encourage you to fan the flames to keep it going throughout 2021. I firmly believe that we are meant to keep the Christmas spirit 365 days of the year. Yes, you can!

I think a more common word for Christmas spirit is love. Not a romantic love, but just a love of all that is around us. “All” means even that family member who is more than a little hard on the nerves. You didn’t miss that part of the annual Christmas celebrations, did you?

Love is an energy that can either come and go hardly noticed, or can be tapped into and expanded. Much like other energy sources in the universe, like sunshine, wind, or a river, we don’t usually take much notice of it, but if harnessed, can provide electricity to power a whole town.

Like trying to start a campfire, it takes work and perseverance, since it usually takes a few attempts to really get it going. I always bring a Frisbee with me in my camping gear. It’s a fun activity to play with friends, takes up very little space in my pack and is excellent for fanning the fire when I’m starting it.

If the wood gets a little wet, your wrist can start to burn as you’re fanning for a minute or two. Particularly if you aren’t used to using that muscle. Most of us aren’t really paying much attention throughout the year to exercising the muscle needed to fan the flames of love. We married folks have a tendency to sink into the rut of the same old, same old. So we start getting a little flabby in our love-giving muscles.

You may be doing fine because the breeze is blowing and you don’t even notice that the spark is dying out when the wind stops. Or, maybe, like this past year, it rained a lot (emotionally) and everything is damp and not at all ready to light.

That’s when it is nice to have a dedicated time of the year to celebrate love — Christmas! It is at this time that we focus on others: buying them presents, inviting them over for dinner, setting aside time for office parties with people we’d like to get to know a little better.

Christmastime is a chance to step out of the daily grind, stop to smell the eggnog and turkey and look up to see the beauty around us for a moment.

The grind is generally focussed on myself. I need to get to work on time, get my paycheck, get a haircut, buy food, find a parking spot, etc. That’s not living — that’s just existing. Existing in the physical realm. The spiritual realm is much larger than that. But if we keep our nose to the grindstone 24/7, we’ll never see it.

It’s only once we step out of the daily grind that we notice that there is anything of value around us. The spiritual realm always includes others. As we make connections with them (physically distanced or not), our spirit can touch somebody. For starters, the spirit realm includes whoever brought me into existence, as well as bringing the planet, stars, trees, etc. into existence. As I focus on them, this provides me an instant connection to the universe: big as stars, and small as the grains of sand between my toes on the beach. Next, I can choose to worship, not the sand, but whoever designed it.

Worship, if you aren’t familiar with the feeling, is a sense of awe of how amazingly all these things work together: the moon affects the tides, tides affect the turtles, and the sand. And appreciation for the privilege of watching it all in action. Better than that, I can, if I wish, participate in this whole art installation on a enormous scale that we call the universe as a co-creator, with God.

At Christmas, we celebrate the creator condescending to come down to us as baby Jesus, to show the way to have Peace on Earth — to bring love. He invites us to “Come and follow me” and to co-operate with Him.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how I’m feeling on any particular day) this creator gave us freedom to choose our path. This means we can choose to build up or to tear down. Tearing down always takes way less time than re-building.

Tearing down can be fun at the moment, like in doing the demolition in preparation for the kitchen renovation. Or, for some people, it’s fun to tear others down in front of their friends. For yet others, it is fun to oppress minorities with degrading words (as if they are the more important specks in the universe), or to tear down society’s building blocks and riot in the streets.

I want to assure you that it can also be fun to give a word of encouragement to somebody the creator loves, to tell them that their life is not worthless, they were created for a purpose. Fun to :

  • give a hug to a homeless person who is so used to being ignored, and starts feeling like he doesn’t exist. Maybe he was a mistake, and he shouldn’t exist.
  • bring someone along for a walk by the river to get a glimpse into the power behind this universe and to feel a little more connected to each other and to the force of love that brought each of you into this world
  • talk with someone struggling to find her way in the world and her place in society, and explore the possibilities of her destiny in life
  • smile at the cashier and lift her spirits just a little bit, speak joy into someone’s life who is having a hard time finding any today.

I want to encourage you to fan that flame of love, build up friends and acquaintances all year round. Let’s start with those who may be feeling depressed during this season. Of course to do that, we ourselves must stay in daily contact with our source of love, the source of everything. A fire that is stoked only once a year dies out.

One of these days, the Christmas decorations will be packed away again, the snow will disappear and it will get warm again, but we still need that campfire burning bright. There is no season for love. Love is always in season, and always beneficial (if not always rewarded and appreciated at the time, more about that in a later issue). Make it a part of your life 365 days of the year and you will see, just like the Grinch, your heart grow 3 sizes, in the process. Love is something that grows if you give it away, rots into bitterness if you selfishly grasp it.

What is your favourite part of Christmas? Is it giving presents, having people over to the house, listening to uplifting music, cooking for people, chilling with friends, encouraging them? See how you can incorporate it into your daily life all through 2021. Let’s choose today to feed our own souls! Share the feeling with others.

With an education in neuroscience, psychology and theology and a career as a tech writer, I am now exploring how social issues and politics are affecting us.

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