Christmas Morning, 2022
Agonizing over writing a holiday post seems ludicrous and yet I struggled to the point that I abandoned the effort yesterday. My heart was heavy and my mind chaotic as I vacillated, hesitating as to whether I ought to share my thoughts or not. As I weighed out all the ramifications of various perceptions and perspectives, the responsibility of crafting a meaningful message felt tremendous.
Here I am early Christmas morning, still knowing I want to share something, even if it appears as sloppy, disconnected words upon a page. As is often the case, what seems like an overwhelming task and tremendous responsibility, is really very simple. I mean can it be as simple as smiling and saying Merry Christmas? Why does it feel like such a challenge to get the heart of a message across? Words, words, words….can’t write with them, can’t write without them… so here is my meager attempt…
Reflecting on my personal perspective, although the expression of how I’ve celebrated Christmas at different times has changed, the essence has always remained the same. Regardless of religious orientation, the holidays provide a bridge to share the qualities of generosity, joy, kindness, compassion and inclusivity with everyone we meet.
The power of a thing comes from its essence and is expressed as the spirit of that essence. The world of Experiential Hospitality exemplifies this perfectly, because when acknowledged at its core, it is remarkably obvious and effortlessly demonstrated by those who understand. They “catch” the spirit and fervently spread it through every thought, word and deed. The impact made by those who embody a hospitable heart cannot be measured, as its nature is to multiply and expand. Moment by moment, we can open doors to experiences that create magic for others and in doing so, we create more and more possibilities for ourselves. By the simple act of creating experiences where others feel cared for, we initiate streams of hospitality that affect everyone.
Our preferences, religious beliefs and styles of celebrating are deeply personal. What matters to us simply matters and requires no justification. Different seasons of life demand their own unique celebrations and the heart of hospitality embraces it all with the higher perspective of provision, grace and giving.
For example, I love the magic of a storybook Christmas. We all know that with young children in the mix, every holiday is an opportunity to create magic and I did everything from my own values and preferences. My kids were showered with what I believe to be the true meaning and spirit of Christmas from the first day of Advent and we embraced the reverence of the season through Christian ritual, prayer and service to others. They were fully immersed in the stories traditionally shared through the tradition of Waldorf schools everywhere, as well as the old-fashioned simplicity of Astrid Lindgren’s Christmas in Noisy Village, The Tomten and The Fox, and all of the beautiful, oral tradition of shared fairy tales and folklore of the season. Beauty, simplicity and reverence was the theme of each daily experience and these crowning moments of celebration and ritual led directly into the ongoing celebration of the New Liturgical Year, bringing awareness to the sacred element of every day.
Experiential Hospitality also embraces the constant intention of transforming the ordinary into the sacred through service. It provides an opportunity to touch the hearts of individuals and lift them out of themselves into more happiness, hope and freedom. It provides a pathway for each person to experience a greater depth of meaning in otherwise commonplace occurrences.
Each year brings with it a new way of celebrating and of course I continue to love the silent flicker of candlelight, the joy of skating and skiing, the beauty of snowflakes and the sacred purity of private prayer. No matter where I am, who I am with or what I am doing, the true Spirit of this beautiful season prevails and grows as I focus and attend to it. Whatever you are celebrating, I know we can all unite in the spirit of hospitality. Wishing you love, light and joy!