The Joys of Finding Christmas Within

The Joys of Finding Christmas Within December 14, 2023

mystical Christmas
Mario Losereit via Unsplash

It’s the holiday season. And whether you’re a Christian or not, it’s a special time of year with a little magic in the air. I was raised a Catholic, so the connection to Jesus, and the celebration of his birth, is in my chemical makeup. Yet, I believe the warmth and cheer of Christmas extends to non-Christians and agnostics as well, for there are elements of the holiday season all of us can enjoy, including:

  • Family and togetherness. It’s a time for families and loved ones to come together, put aside any differences, and celebrate the warmth of the season.
  • Giving and charity. It’s a time to show love and compassion to others, including sharing gifts and helping those in need, near and far.
  • Peace and goodwill. It’s a time to spread kindness and goodwill to all people, regardless of their beliefs, backgrounds, or level of crankiness.

Christmas can also be a time to deepen your spirituality.

You can also look at Christmas as an opportunity to get in touch with your spiritual side. The holidays can be a time for awe and wonder, stillness and contemplation, and taking the time to allow the spiritual realm to enter your everyday life.

Writing in The Soul of Christmas, Thomas Moore goes a step further: He invites us to become Christmas mystics. Don’t think you’re a candidate? Moore tells us “We are all potential mystics” able to achieve a direct connection with a power greater than ourselves. And it doesn’t have to be that hard. “Just stand still in the presence of a beautiful sunset and your mysticism will be activated.”

To be a mystic, you don’t have to be a Christian or belong to any religion. But Moore counsels us, “there’s work to do. You don’t become a mystic by wishing it so. You need some quiet time, some contemplation, some meditation, some deprivation and some deep prayer.” And what better time than now, when many of us have breaks from work and down time between holiday gatherings, to engage our mystical side. Moore informs us:

The mystical life has some quiet in it. Quiet can be the atmosphere you create; not all the time, of course, but at moments when it’s convenient and possible. The idea is to create an environment in which you can reflect and can listen to what the world has to say to you. You become quiet to be a good listener. 

What’s it like to be a real-life mystic?

In a recent story on the website “Religion Unplugged,” Cathy Lynn Grossman interviews Kate McDermott, 70, of Washington state. While McDermott doesn’t mention mysticism by name, she says that she “walks quietly through hills and forests and feels a sense of connection to the universe under the great blue dome of sky that is everywhere, all the time.”

That’s what engaging your mystical side is all about! Feeling a deep sense of connection to the people and natural world around you, and the force that animates it. And while being in the great outdoors can serve as a mystical trigger, we can also realize this experience from the comfort of our own home, important when the weather outside is less than hospitable.

How do you engage the mystic in you? Personally, I like nothing better than to rise before the rest of the household, pour myself a cup of coffee, and bask in the glow of the Christmas tree in the dim morning light. At other times, I simply sit admire the Christmas tchotchkes that dot every corner of our home. I scan whatever room I’m in and take it all in, giving thanks for the memories, and the warmth and comfort, they provide.

But the best time to ignite the mystic within may be later in the evening, sitting in a room with the only light coming from lit candles or again, my personal favorite, the Christmas tree. (At night, my cup of coffee is often replaced by a glass of eggnog.) It’s at these times, when we can quiet the chatty voice within and be fully present in the moment, that we may blessedly sense the presence of the Divine.

Moore sees embracing our mystic side as a necessary task, especially at this time of year. While we celebrate with family and friends, we also need to find the time to remove ourselves from the busyness of life, to unplug and recharge. It is a journey we all should make for our mental and spiritual well-being. Moore explains:

If you take Christmas to heart and get past the anxiety in arranging for gifts and parties, you will rediscover yourself every year. It will be the celebration of both the birth of Jesus and the birth of your own soul.

Enjoy this story? There are 112 just like it in my new book Wake Up Call: Daily Insights for the Spiritually Curious, now available from Wildhouse Publishing.

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