03 December 2009

Christmas Gifts

Well, it's here-- the inevitable Big Holiday Season is upon us.  And guess what?  I'm not doing IT this year.

That's right, Nada, Zilch, Nothing, Zero, None.  No big holiday season.  What a relief.
After all these years of saying it doesn't matter, that how we treat each other all year is what's important, that it's the simple things that matter, that it is unQuakerly to buy into all the Christmas Hype, I finally get it.  It took my son to say to me, "I'm just not into this Christmas thing this year."  And I felt that big sigh of relief come over me.  "Yeah, me either," I tried to say calmly as I rejoiced inside.  My son had in fact set me free.  This year, we are going to spend time with each other, but we are dispensing with gift giving of any physical sort.

We are all stressed, for money, for our health, for time, for peace, for all the things that matter.
So this Christmas, what I am giving for gifts is this...  Do you need an ear?  A moment of peace? A little heart? A kind touch? A quiet place to be?  A soft place to land?  I have all those things to offer. Friends have offered them to me, as well.

"A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it ... It is as great presumption to send our passions upon God's errands, as it is to palliate them with God's name... We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by love and information. And yet we could hurt no man that we believe loves us. Let us then try what Love will do: for if men did once see we love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. Force may subdue, but Love gains: and he that forgives first, wins the laurel."

I've read this passage over and over this year.  William Penn said it in 1693. It has resonated to me on so many levels.  What's also come to mind repeatedly is my favorite passage, in First Corinthians 13:1-13:

 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Many years I've haunted myself with thoughts of not doing enough, being enough, having enough.  This year I have even less, in terms of things.  I couldn't shower people with presents even if I wanted to.  I don't have money, my health is less than great, and I certainly don't have the energy in the midst of my job search. Yet I am at peace.

I do have this one thing:   LOVE.

I am surrounded by family, friends, community, meeting, god, light -- LOVE.

Let us then try what LOVE will do.

Let us then TRY what love will do.

Let US then try what love will do.

Let us then try WHAT love will do.

The greatest blessing of my life has been to be filled with the Light of God and experience that Love.  It is a gift that cannot be taken away, worn out, used up, or returned.  It is never the wrong size, always just right.

I LOVE each and every one of you, and I am blessed to have you in my life.  Thank you for that gift

1 comment:

  1. I really like that scripture too. Great message! I agree. Christmas time should be simply about love.