It may not be the biggest or fanciest tree but our family’s tree still sparkles and shines with twinkling lights and colors. It still fills my heart with gratitude that despite anything else that has gone on this year we can still be thankful. We can still appreciate what it means to come together in celebration of the birth of Christ and see the good that still persists in the world. That’s the thing about true shining is it never dulls and tarnishes. It may get dusty or need some fixing at times but it is always there.
We so often look outside of ourselves to see things that catch our eye. These things give us excitement, uplift our spirits and make us feel good. Like the lights of the Christmas tree we feel their magic and let it fuel us. It feels good to be recharged and light by these things. It reminds us of more important things in life that often don’t get the attention they deserve. These lights also remind us who we are and what work we still have to do. What I know about shining lights is we can always be caught up in seeing them but until we let them touch our heart they are just lights.
What I know about shining is it is possible in all of us to shine at any time but for some reason we tend to save it for the holidays. We tend to save the really good in us like our good china carefully stored away for a special occasion. We know it’s there and we’d love to use it more often but we don’t. Perhaps people will think we’re showing off or making a fuss for no reason. Yet the saying is we should eat pizza on the china because you only live once. I believe that should apply to our life as well. We only get one life to shine in. Use the good stuff in you and your good china every day because every day holds some good.
To shine is to be light against darkness. In this crazy year we’ve all endured I can think of no other perfect time than now to shine. The love needs our best selves to step forward and help heal, rebuild and bridge divides. We have made such a mess of world and filled the world with blame, bullying and bullshit. We have become divided and no light can shine this way. It is when we come together in an effort to heal and rebuild that we find our lights combine and set to blaze the darkness pushing it back. We cannot persist in anger and hate towards one another. People we have loved our whole lives are now our enemies for the sins of ancestors. I believe there is enough blame to go around so it is best we put our lights to better use and worry about fixing what we can. What I believe about shine is it is truly more powerful at the holidays so perhaps it is now this work can begin.
When we see and feel shining lights in our life we can still see and feel the things that are wrong too. We can still see the pain, suffering, violence and strife that goes on. Yet I believe when we shine together we reinforce each other to push against those bad things so they stop. We stand together shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee in common agreement that such egregious acts against children won’t be tolerated and all life is important. We stop making heroes of criminals and work to institute positive changes to protect each other and those that cannot protect themselves. We do this because we cherish life itself. We love humankind and respect each other even when we disagree. We do this out of love and love after all is the best way to shine in this world.
What I believe about shining is it is in all of us, we just have to let it out. We have to let our own words be said and our own beauty radiate. When we fall into what we hear and see others doing and think we should do it too we dampen our own heart’s light. We lessen our own gifts to contribute to this world and we keep our light to ourselves. Our words become the thoughts of others repeated until they feel like our own and yet we know they are not. To shine is to be ourselves in a world where it is believed we should all think, dress, and act the same. I believe this short changes our life and what is possible in this world to make it better. True diversity is accepting and loving the differences in others empowering their light to shine as brightly as possible while they do the same for us.
As I look at our family’s Christmas tree this year I see handmade decorations our son made, ornaments we’ve had for years and new ones we added recently. None of them are particularly noteworthy or expensive and yet they are ours. They represent my family and give us time to remember times gone by. They give us cause to reflect where we have been and where our dreams were then. When I see these things I see a lifetime of love and happy memories and I see hope. If it were possible then when these treasures were made or bought then surely it can be hopeful now. Despite all the challenges and hardships we can still take hope as something that never runs out or changes. It persists despite it all and all we have to do is believe in it. What I know about things we see as shining is that sometimes it is hope itself telling us not to give up.
While we celebrate and reflect on the meaning of this season I invite you to consider how we carry that outward into the world to heal and overcome what has happened this year. I invite you to consider how we can use our own shining light to make the world better, to spread happiness instead of hate and heal instead of wound. What I know about shining is it is good to share it.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.
All my best love and wishes of joy for you and yours.