In the Spirit of the Moment

It's one of the most illogical things you can imagine, that all of these busy people, everywhere throughout the world could settle down to observe a moment. Of course we have our differences, not the least of which are religious, cultural, and whether you like dogs or cats better. (Cats are better!) But still we have so much in common.

I wonder at Christmas. Not only for some of the usual reasons, but I think it's really fascinating that it has survived the millennia, and still we settle ourselves around the table and share the games, the stories, the songs that we have always shared. We do ridiculous and strange things like haul formerly living trees into our perfectly nice homes, and put shiny things on them. Why?

I think that we are drawn magnetically to those experiences that help us focus. We have the tree (for example) in our house, and for one amazing evening, the whole family is (1) physically present in the same room (2) Doing the same thing, and amazingly (3) Thinking about the same thing. We are interested in the same questions - important things like how to get the lights untangled, and how to get the star to stay in place.

Is it really this hard to focus and tune into each other? Well, in this day and age, yes. I can't exactly say what those rituals and traditions are that will draw each family to the table - there seems to be a fascinating variety of them - but their presence in our lives is powerful and precious. They are tactile and sensory in a soul-deep way. They help us reach into the past and into the future.

I wonder at how to bring this sense of moment into the gift-giving itself. As much as we know Christmas is not about the gifts, they still serve an important purpose in our ritual. Gifts are not about the stuff as much as the stories the things help us tell. They are about the connection from one person to the next. The right gift can build bridges, and the wrong gift can actually alienate.

Back in the day, we could all hand make and create just the right gift for each other, but now most
likely, we have other skills like . . . cooking microwave meals and texting our friends. Okay, many of us do have some homespun talents too, but there are many things we rely on others in our community to know and do for us. We even rely on others to have the time to do what we would if we could, and it's okay.

There's really nothing wrong with reaching out to others to do what we cannot. It's what people have always done. But it does matter where things come from - from a small artisan we support and can tell the story of, something that was created piece by piece and designed in thoughtful detail. So as long as gifts are important to us, let it be a gift that connects.
This links to the main page at ArtFire


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