Magic Or Else (Christmas)

Magic Or Else
Callan Williams, © 2005

If there is no possibility of magic at the holiday time, what the hell is the point?

It doesn’t matter if it’s the magic of salvation coming in the birth of one divine child, the magic of light that stretches beyond expectation to keep us holy, the magic of community & shared values, the magic of wonder in the face of kids, or any other kind of magic.  Holidays without magic are not holy at all, are just another day.

The gift we need most is the gift of the possibility of magic.  It’s the possibility that religions offer, the gift of hokey Christmas movies, and the gift that retailers ads try to make us believe comes in the boxes that they are selling.  A hot creamy cup of perfect coffee in under a minute?  What magic!

Everyone knows how drawn they are to stories where magic happens – a lottery win, a dog who saves her family, a reunion, anyone falling in love.  These are the possibilities we dream about happening to us.

It’s when we become magic, though, that the best things happen.  And we become magic when we transcend the possibilities written on us by our family, our community, our biology, our history, our race, or whatever else imposes expectations on us and do the miraculous: become more than we and others thought we were.

Waiting for magic to fall from the sky, looking longingly at others who invoke magic, or expecting something to be the magical solution (you know, like that new shampoo), isn’t really a way to get magic into our lives.  We have to find and practice our own magic to really do good, the magic of healing, the magic of mastery, the magic of miracles where we keep choosing to grow & succeed rather than repeating the rote expectations.

The possibility of magic.  It’s the only thing that can possibly get us through the dark times of the holidays.  And it’s the only gift really worth giving at the holidays.  It’s not magic we can give, only the possibility of magic, because magic is always possibility, the  possibility of being more than we ever imagined we could be, doing more than we ever imagined we could do.

Magic certainly takes sweat, working towards mastery, but more than that it requires magic.  There is some spark, some flash at the center of our magic, and unless that always stays at the center of our expression, all we have is grunt work.  No magic ever came in a place where inspiration and intuition isn’t requires, be that on an assembly line or in a call center.  Our creativity isn’t just about how much we force and grunt and sacrifice and deny, it’s about how we bring out our own magic and work to make that spark into a flame that can make light, make warmth, make magic.

If the gift of the possibility of magic is the only gift worth giving this holiday season, how can you give it?  Your job is to open the space for things to happen that are beyond your expectations, and then to blow on every spark of magic you see in others this year.  When you affirm that magic can happen, when traditions are only the launching pad for the little miracles of opening hearts, when you say yes to the sparks, you start being able to give the magic of possibility. When you engage and affirm the possibility of magic in the people you love, that’s when magic happens.  When you ask them to deny their magic to fit your expectations, that’s when magic dies.

If there is no possibility of magic at the holiday time, what the hell is the point?  Killing magic might be an everyday pastime for many, keeping the status quo intact, but when the days are short, cold and dark (at least up here in the northern hemisphere) we need the possibility of magic to get us through.  After all, can anything but giving the possibility of magic really be called love?  The worst and best thing anyone can hold for us is the expectation of being amazing – a real challenge, but the only challenge that affirms all we can be, that affirms the possibilities our creator placed inside of us.

You holiday can be full of magical moments, but only if you are prepared to receive the magic that comes your way, ready to encourage possibilities rather than to damp them down.

When you see someone trying to make magic this holiday, to create something new and better, be there to encourage them.  Help them make space for the magic to take root and grow, for the new and exciting to shine in the world.  Without a positive audience willing to suspend judgment and cheer on the new, there is no possibility for magic to bloom.

If you make your own magic, breaking though, transforming and becoming new past expectations, you know how hard it is to keep that magic going without others who are willing to believe in what they cannot yet see, believe in the possibility of new birth.  You know that the gift of creating space for the possibility of magic is a gift of precious beauty because the giving gift of believing in someone is giving the gift of their own flowering, to them and to you.

As for me, I find it the hardest thing to be open to magic happening.  I have been taught for so long that the expectation of magic is an open door to the reality of suppression, the oppression of expectations that many hold to be the key to a comfortable holiday.  Rather than to be open to surprise, joy, transcendence, amazement, delight and love, many prefer to play out the old dramas, be crushed under the burden of old expectations, be lost in what has been rather than be open to the possibility of magic.  It is hard to be as a child, where everything seems new and possible, because that child has so many times been told that there is no magic, and behaving the way that others expect is the only option that might bring you anything at all good.

I know what people want from me.  They want to be affirmed in their choices, either the choice for comfort, supporting status quo (fear), or the choice for magic, moving beyond limits (love).  In both cases, they rarely want to support me in the possibility of magic, rather they want magic avoided or magic done for them.  Opening the space for magic is something you do for others, because their magic is for them, and not for you.  That’s why supporting the possibility of magic is a gift, offering the blessings of any gift, in returns you cannot imagine.

If there is no possibility of magic at the holiday time, what the hell is the point?  That is a question I often find myself asking when trying to finding meaning and energy for this bleakest time of the year.

New birth, enduring light, a community that can endure & transcend.  These are the themes of some of the stories we tell in the darkness, and they are the themes of magic, of being moving beyond expectation to something infused with the divine.

If there is no possibility of magic at the holiday time, what the hell is the point?

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One thought on “Magic Or Else (Christmas)”

  1. One thing that struck me at the beginning is how religions bait and switch around magic. They promise the wonder and awe and the magic of being in love, and then you show up and receive priestly control. So do families.

    The magic bait is that this year it will be different, it will be like the magic on television, where at the end of the show everyone cries and hugs and understands, and there is a joyous feast. A friend told me once that in the industry this kind of ending is known as “the moment of shit” because it’s so dishonest.

    I think that one reason people like gifts so much, commodities, is that you can trust them. A piece of clothing is a piece of clothing. The magic you get from it is precisely the magic you get from a piece of clothing. If you like it, and there’s a real chance you will, it will make you feel warmer, or prettier, or cuddly, make you feel good for just a bit, which is more magic than you get from your family. You can count on presents in a way you can’t count on people.

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