Rebecca Helm-Ropelato
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Thursday, December 21, 2006
Tis the Season, Ready or Not
Several years ago I lost the spirit of Christmas. A special feeling for this special time had always arrived for me in early December. Promptly. No matter the circumstances of my life, happy or sad, my mood lifted in the magic atmosphere of the holiday season. Perhaps the feeling had ebbed a little each year without my awareness. Then one year, nothing. The carols, the tree, the decorations, the big feast, all of the traditional symbols were lifeless to me. If I had encountered the Ebenezer Scrooge of the first part of Dickens' story, we would have been simpatico.
I mentioned this to a friend who lived a much more contemplative life than I. May I make a suggestion, she said to the gloomy figure I was. Over these holidays, why not pose the question to yourself -- what is the meaning of Christmas for me personally? The suggestion surprised me. I had never before thought to do such a thing. And so I did. And in this way I rediscovered the spirit of the season, not as the spontaneous response I had in earlier times but as an intimate, quieter influence.
Thinking back on this experience, I appreciate the question especially because of its democratic nature – it serves believer and non-believer. It may not be possible in Western society, whatever a person's creed or culture, to avoid encountering the celebration of Christmas and all the imperatives it brings with it. So having a helpful elf all your own in the form of a personal meditation can be a very good thing.
Happy holidays!
by Rebecca Helm-Ropelato
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