by Carolyn Kolovitz
When I was a little girl, my December ritual was to sit alone in my living room beside the twinkling tree lights and imagine myself into the coffee table Nativity set. I imagined myself with the shepherds beneath a Bethlehem sky full of angels until the tiny God lying among the ox and cows felt real, became real to me. I wasn’t spiritually precocious; I had a similar ritual with the Santa’s workshop pop-up scene that sprang to life when I opened our Ronco Christmas album. Both these imaginings were how I made myself feel “The Christmas Spirit.”
As I grew older, various heartbreaks made the Christmas season feel too painful and so I avoided much of it. Christmas joy only returned when I became a mother. That first year, I allowed myself to turn on the Christmas radio station in the car and then cried through O Holy Night, understanding that I was part of the weary world who, at long last, was given a thrill of hope.
I resumed my childhood imaginings into the Nativity scene, but this time the rich metaphors of the Annunciation, Nativity and Epiphany stories unveiled truths within my own experiences. These Christmas stories – together with long winter nights and a longing for the sun – are a powerful gateway into a deeper part of my psyche: the part that holds my most painful wounds, my most naked need to be seen, valued and loved as well as my deepest capacity to fully love those around me.
This Christmas the stories resonate even stronger, as I am a brand-new grandma with a precious baby, daughter andson-in-spirit to love until my heart explodes. Holding my grandson moments after his birth, I heard angels singing and understood the desperate love of the parents and onlookers at the manger in a whole new way. My wounds still hurt, my needs still poke me with longing, but fortunately my capacity to love keeps expanding – and the stories of Christmas still offer me new ways of exploring these truest elements of being human.
Merry Christmas, Everyone!
And have a Happy New Year by joining me for the Moving Forward in Sync with Your Soul workshop on January 19. We will (re)imagine ourselves living a year with great purpose and aligned with our deepest values.