My Own Christmas Day

This may be a radical idea, especially coming out just two days after December 25. In fact, I’ll bet it brings up considerable resistance within the psyche of anyone who reads this. Change usually does.

First, let me say that having everyone celebrate the same holidays on the same days or schedules each year is an ideal way to bring structure to society. It serves a purpose and keeps things orderly. It allows American companies to provide employees days off through the designation of specific holiday dates each year. Everyone focuses on the same celebration at the same time. In that acknowledgment there is unity and oneness – a nice feeling to have with your neighbor or relative.

I think this form of order works quite well for recognizing political or societal holidays. I have a different opinion in regard to the rigidity of spiritually-based celebrations. For example, I propose to recognize the Spirit of Christmas in April or August. No more December 25. In fact, we could move this spiritual holiday to a different month each year, just to be sure folks are paying attention to the Spirit of the Season. Why you ask? Why make such a drastic suggestion?

Think about it. From Halloween to New Year’s Day it’s just one party or get-together after another. People get worn out from all that traveling and partying and gift buying in a short two-month span. Why not spread out the celebrations a bit? We could easily move Thanksgiving and Christmas to other times of the year…to those months when there’s not a lot going on in the way of connecting with one another.

Christmas in August would be ideal! There’d be less weather-related issues for traveling (no snow). You could combine buying the new academic year’s school clothes as Christmas presents (practical and money-saving). There’d be a lot more contemplation time in December to prepare all those resolutions due by January 1st. You wouldn’t have two major, end-of-year holiday celebrations just eight days apart (loss of employee productivity with all that time off). And with all the thought and attention placed on getting just the right Christmas gift and being with those you care about, you would be able to connect with them in the middle of the year (plus end-of-year holidays) and distribute the love more evenly throughout the months rather than focus on the last 65 days of the calendar.

This year our family purposely down-sized the commercial expectations that have built up over the years. Through that effort, we found we had a lot less stress about the whole Christmas event, we were freer to give from the heart and not the wallet, and we’ve started seeing or calling each other without the Christmas impetus. We’re talking to each other about life and having fun. We don’t need to have a designated date to make plans to visit. We can choose our own special days to connect. And that’s a very spiritual thing to do.

We recognize the Love more easily – no tree decorations in the way, no fancy meals to cook, no special trips to arrange – unless we choose to. We decide…when to call up and say “hello” or “I was thinking about you.” We decide…if it’s a day to spend with family or friends or both. We decide…to bring that sharing and giving consciousness to each other or to strangers along the way…and we can do it EVERY day. We express our loving God/Christ-nature EVERY day. And isn’t that the message we should be sharing?

There you have it. My slightly radical idea to have our own designated and personal Christmas day. If we celebrate the Spirit of Christmas on a regular basis, would we really miss doing it in December? What a fun surprise this will be for my family next year. I really can’t wait for Christmas!


I’m in the midst of a countdown list of things to do as I prepare for a mini-vacation with family…I will be with my children and all my grandchildren for the first time ever!

While we all maintain contact through various technologies on at least a weekly basis, we definitely look forward to the face-to-face visits with great enthusiasm. At the same time…between all the pre-vacation preparations, the long days of driving to another state, and the fact that I really love my home, I sometimes find it difficult to make the journey. Yet, I’m always glad that I do. The connection we have as a family is stronger than any excuse not to go.

It takes time and energy to maintain quality relationships, whether it’s with your spouse, children, extended family, friends or groups in which a person is involved (such as church, work, hobbies, etc.). Oftentimes, and sadly, relationships can deteriorate and even fade away just from the lack of attention they so desperately need.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about relationships is that they need to be fed. For example, in a marriage, both individuals need to contribute love, time, energy and respect (plus more!) in order for this vital union to survive. Both people need to contribute to the connection they share. It’s like a three-legged stool. It’s necessary to think of the relationship as a living entity, one of the legs, and the two people involved as the other two legs. Such a stool will never stand on its own with only one individual trying to make it work. A two-legged stool will never stand.

The same is true for ANY relationship to survive…parent and child, friendships, employer and employee, client and customer, or whatever. We must take the time to nourish the bonds that connect us…if we want them to continue.

I find it interesting to observe and be part of the evolution of a relationship. They’re precious no matter how long they last; the memory of a special connection can live in our memories forever. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I notice the seeds of a friendship taking root amongst members of our congregation. I melt in the love of a grandchild’s hug. A text from my adult children can turn into a laughing fest. An international phone call from my husband any time of the day or night is a testament to our long-term commitment. By whatever means available, making an effort to stay connected to the ones you care about deepens the joy of living…it helps to balance the three-legged stool…and turn it into a large and comfortable recliner.

I believe and teach that what you think, say and do is returned in some manner to you. How beautiful life is when those seeds of love and friendship are sowed with all you know and returned exponentially from many directions. There is no end to the Good…to the Love. Why not share it abundantly as often as you can!  See you after my trip.

Our Most Precious Gift

In days of gift-giving, whatever time of year, it is wise to pause on the weight of our decision. What do we really want to give to those we love? How much focus do we place on the cost or size of our gifts to others? What is the most precious gift?

I’ve often thought the answer was time. If I only had more time, I could do… be… whatever. That is linear thinking, isn’t it? All we truly have is the present moment. Right here. Right now. When we’re conscious about this fact, we can make better use of our time. We can choose to do what is the most important to us in that moment, while simultaneously considering how our actions and thoughts of today will create our tomorrows, for they will. The gift of time can, indeed, impact how we live our life, but is it the most precious?

What about love? Love is indeed precious. Through centuries of Bible verses we have been told that “God so loved the world…” [John 3:16]. In this one verse it states that we are loved so much that God gave something valuable to us so we would have something even more priceless in return. Logically, one could believe that, while love is indeed a precious gift, apparently it is only an avenue to an even greater one.

Still, in the physical world where we live, move and have our being, we are encouraged to…“Write that letter. Make that call. Go see that person. Give that gift. Say that thank you. Grab that time together. Show them you love them now.” [from] We find human and spiritual connection through loving acts. We feel good relating in positive ways with those we feel close to. What could possibly be more precious than love?

The answer can be found in many places, one of which is again the Bible [Romans 6:23]: “…the gift of God is eternal life…” Think about that for a moment: eternal life. Naturally, we’re not talking about this physical body existing indefinitely. In fact, we’re not even sure our consciousness remains the same, no matter how enlightened we may be. We’re talking about Life…the unseen force that breathes us…the invisible energy that inspires and creates through us…the Divine Power that exists in and as us.

We – as living expressions of God – with body, mind and eternal soul energy (Life) are the most precious gift! Imagine that! Dr. Ernest Holmes once said: “You and I are born out of God, and we are born out of a divine urge that creates. ” He also stated that “…Life is a blessing or a curse, according to the use we make of it.” Life IS precious!

So what use are you making of the life you have? Yes, your place in the material world can be important. But ask the even greater question: what are you doing as a soul-filled creation? Do you spend your time in ways that inspire the Life in you or others? Do you love the world so much that all bias and judgment are gone? Are you expressing in such a way that your soul, your Life force, is a gift of God? What about being a gift TO God in return?

Now there’s something to think about. Maybe God could use a nice present this year, too. Consider this affirmation as a starting point:

I express and honor this precious gift of Life as a loving gift of God.


Open at the Top

On a recent trip the airline flights were peppered with a variety of weather patterns. The conditions ranged from sunny to snowfall, with spatters of clouds, cold, wind, fog, and rain between. Shelter was readily available. No accidents occurred; only delays…and surprises.

The best surprise arrived during a flight heading north, away from grey fog, cold rain, and gusty winds. The plane climbed in altitude. It arrived in a clear and sunlit world above a puffy land of white clouds, blue sky, and blinding sunshine. I felt my body offer a joyful breath of relief as the plane travelled most of its journey in this bright heaven. I also noticed how my mind relaxed. My initial thought was, “This is what it means to rise above conditions and be ‘open at the top.’ ” Here is how the world and our challenges look when we take them to prayer.

As we connect with Divine Mind and move into Higher Consciousness, a more expansive perspective is possible. We can make this shift in perception through meditation, art, singing or just staring out the window of an airplane miles above the earth. While the details of life need to be addressed in this worldly existence where we live, move, and express our being, the importance of the minutia needn’t consume our every thought. Actually, the more often you visit this elevated viewpoint, the less impact the details may have on your psyche. You may find yourself willing to release control on tightly-gripped projects, allow trusted others to make decisions on your behalf, or just go along with the flow of life.

An “open at the top” mindset allows you to express your individuality and for others to express theirs; for all to accept and allow. It provides you with a new avenue of information to enhance your thinking. Such an experience gives you the opportunity to live an expanded life, in physical expression as well as in consciousness.  You can find serenity in the midst of a crowded airplane during a turbulent flight. You can experience peace within while a family gathering is displaying chaos and confusion around you. In fact, you may find such bliss in prayer that all other experiences so pale in comparison you won’t want your prayer time to end! It doesn’t need to.

Every thought is a prayer. Every loving act of life an expression of God’s presence. Every idea an inspiration of Spirit. Unless you are paying attention, unless you are open to even the most common of experiences, you might miss the messages of that still small voice…

Be open. Be inspired. Be surprised!

Childlike Holidays with Less Stress

The holiday seasons seem to come earlier each year…or maybe just faster. Whatever the case, I’m determined to experience what it offers with the least amount of stress I can. Here are a couple ideas I’ve found helpful to make the season calmer and more serene.

First, do you remember when you would anticipate the holidays with the excitement of the unknown? You knew there would be some kind of good that would present itself. Part of that excitement was the fact that you did not know exactly what would happen. Go there again. Give up knowing how things are ‘supposed to’ turn out. Allow yourself to suspend judgment and pre-determined outcomes of the day. Let yourself be surprised by life! Sit back in childlike wonder and fresh attention to all holiday gatherings. Marvel at the synchronicity of life.

Second, as you allow yourself to be okay with the not knowing, trust that only good will present itself. See the good everywhere. See it in the aunt or uncle that has been distant, ask them what’s been happening in their lives. See the good in the guests who come to your home or that special gathering and offer their help with dinner preparations, even though they don’t know where any dish or utensil is located. See the good in the cousin or nephew who wants to debate every play of the football game, especially if your team is losing. See the good in the after-meal mess and leftovers, even if you’re the only one cleaning up. See the good in all the people who have chosen to come together during this special time, even if this is the only time of year they do it. See the good.

Third, come with a heart filled with love. Release all habits of controlling every aspect of the day, every minute of chaos, and every second of the conversation. Let this be a year of observation, listening, service and devotion. If you don’t have the opportunity to discuss every bit of news you came to share, then contact that person again, later, and do it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see them again anyway, maybe one-on-one, or speak to them on the phone? Make a date to spend time catching up with them, sharing more deeply and earnestly than is possible at a large family gathering. You will both surprise and delight them with the added attention of your interest in their lives. It can truly be a way to bond and grow closer as a family or friend. Feel the love.

Finally, I highly recommend an ‘attitude of gratitude’ – for Thanksgiving, the holidays that follow, or anytime – whether you spend them alone, with one person, or many others. Stay in gratitude for the family you have now and the ancestors that gave you a life path to this moment. Stay in thanksgiving for the abundance that provided you the means by which you are able to read these words. Continue to show appreciation to all who have participated in providing whatever meal you’re able to enjoy on these special occasions, for the transportation that got you there, or the home in which you’re hosting it. Gratitude creates an atmosphere to attract more good into your life.

These are all simple things to do. Whether it’s sharing a meal, grabbing a cup of coffee, or exchanging a present – appreciate that life is offered to you without any strings attached. The fun part is, the more you practice these concepts and the more you give them away, you may not only surprise a few people, you will get back so much more than you give. And what a gift that will be!