If love was as simple as a greeting card, we wouldn’t need Christmas.
Rituals make us put love into action, going to that place where the rubber hits the road.
We not only have to go out of our way to make the event special for the people we love, we have to actually show up and face them across a table.
It’s easy to love in the abstract, just sending pretty thoughts into the world.
It’s hard to love in the practical, when you have to move past your own comfort level and be there for people who share so much history with you that they make you absolutely freakin’ crazy.
There are always good reasons to write off other people, to point out their flaws and call them stupid or toxic. That’s the easy part.
The hard part, well, the hard part is loving them as they are.
Everyone needs love the most when they are at their least lovable. It’s not when we are cute and appropriate we need you to be there for us, it’s when we are stormy and lost. Love really shows itself when you have to dig deep to find it.
That’s why we need Christmas, need moments when we do dig as deep as we can to manifest the love that we just slide by the rest of the year. Everybody has something special to bring to the celebration, a share of their deep and intense love to give to others.
The precision, the discipline, the traditions and creativity meld together to make time out of time, moments that live in memory forever. They hold our love made manifest.
If love was easy, it wouldn’t be so transformative. It wouldn’t open our minds and hearts to the depth of others, wouldn’t melt our fears and replace them with compassion, gratitude and giving.
Living out our love makes it not just eternal but also always new. We are renewed when we look through the eyes of another, sharing a vision. The most important gift of Christmas is almost always graciously receiving what other people work so hard to create for us, the essence of their love.
When the objects and treats are gone, the love we receive remains woven into who we are. Giving love is always getting love. The warm embrace of what others offer intensifies what we give them, love creating bonds that last, bonds that empower, and bonds that free us.
If love was as simple as a greeting card, we wouldn’t need Christmas. We wouldn’t need to fight our own ego, wouldn’t need to move far past our comfort zone, wouldn’t need to be willing to leave our expectations behind to be present in the moment for the people that we love.
Going to that place where love burns away our resistance and fear, where we dig as deep as we can to embody love, where we put others first with a fierce kind of humility and grace is the way we enter the darkness together, the way we honor the spark that lies inside and connects all of us.
We do the absurd, the strenuous, the exceptional, the banal and the profound at Christmas to bring the magic to our gathering, the magic which is always, always, always, always rooted in love.
May you have someone to give your best to this Christmas and may you embrace the gifts given to you by others in an open hearted way that keeps ripples of love inside you all the year.
Christmas, or whatever ritual we do to show, share and receive love are always hard work, demanding more of us.
That’s what makes them magic.