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How Christmas Can Heal the Sacred in Us

Adoration of the Shepherds, Guido Reni

Regardless of spiritual tradition, our winter holidays help restore gaiety, family, and light into the dark world of the winter when the sun is lowest on the horizon and the days are short. For three days at Solstice the sun appears to stand still in its movement along the horizon. Candles, candelabra, starry tree lights, evergreen trees with bright balls of reflected light-all of these lift us up, inspire us, and add light to our world.

It's easy to forget in the middle of all this distraction to attend to our own Inner Lights. At Christmas, I am drawn to two questions that help me reconnect with my inner self. Taking time to imagine the answers has often restored the sacred to me. How would your life be different if the holy baby in the manger was a girl? How would your life be different if you were the cherished baby in the manger?

What if a star shone overhead foretelling the day you were born, wise men traveled far with precious gifts to attend your birth, angels sang in chorus, and you were the one everyone was waiting for? Would you see yourself differently? Love differently? Choose differently? Take a few minutes this holiday season to imagine this alternative universe as your everyday life. As musician Pablo Casals offered: "You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. And look at your body--what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work--we must all work--to make the world worthy of its children." Let us each remember the Divine, Wise, and Holy within. May we celebrate our lives with the joy, wonder, and awe of a child's heart.

May you have a blessed holiday season and a bright and happy New Year!

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