Saturday, December 25, 2010

Why this Jew Loves Christmas

I have never been a particularly religious person. I have always, however, been fascinated by religion, spirituality, energy, etc. My most recent fascination, once again sparked by my dear brother, is crystals. The Earth has so much to teach, and today I felt its presence once again, but more on that in a moment.

As an American Jew, Christmas meant movies and Chinese food growing up. My family never got into the habit of serving meals to the poor, though I would often feed meals at my mother’s nursing homes on Christmas and/or Thanksgiving every year. Really, Christmas was just like any other day. But then I began searching, and I found that I love Christmas.

Like Thanksgiving with gratitude, the Christmas spirit permeates the air. It is a spirit of joy and togetherness, a time when old wounds can be healed, and the person at the grocery store checkout line can become your new best friend, even if only for the . . . ahem, 30 minutes you are waiting to check out because you go grocery shopping on December 24.

There is no question that consumerism has overtaken much of the Christmas spirit, but underlying it is the desire to bring joy to people. We buy gifts for our friends and family as a way to say we care. Many days, I disagree with the outcome (the consumerist culture), but not with the joy of sharing and giving. The joy on a child’s face when he gets the Superman pajamas from Grandma (my nephew yesterday) is worth every moment. The Christmas spirit is about giving - again, yesterday, a woman at a Tibetan store gave my nephew a pair of gloves because he was so patiently waiting for the rest of us (we were deciding on the perfect Tibetan Singing Bowl for my brother).

Religiously, Christmas is about the birth of the Messiah, if you believe in that. Taking that up the abstraction ladder (as my Torts professor called it), Christmas represents the birth of possibility, of saving ourselves from ourselves, from our own internal hells. To me, and I think to many others, the answer to that is compassion, kindness, working together, sharing, etc. During Christmas, these ideas come together, and we see that in the spirit of the holidays, we can find new ways to interact with each other, through kindness instead of hate, through joy instead of sorrow. I hope this spirit permeates the legal profession. What a way to change the way we do law - through a spirit of joy instead of adversary.

So Christmas has gained new meaning as I have grown up and seen it for what it is. I took a walk this morning, and the air was just full of joy and happiness. The Earth breathes easier when we are all in this spirit. We all breathe easier. My wish/hope/prayer for today is that we continue to find ways to interact like this throughout the entire year. May we all make friends in grocery stores, spread joy, and share love with one another . . . no matter your religion.

Merry Christmas to all, and I hope you still get your movie and Chinese food, if that is your tradition. I know I am still off to a movie today!

Namaste and Blessings!

© 2010 Rebecca Stahl, all rights reserved

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful blessing to all of us and to the world. You make me smile every day. Love, Dad