You know, for years I've listened to this story society tells about how Christmas has gone all commercial and how it's lost whatever it used to have that made it all warm and fuzzy waaaay back in the day. How it's all about buying presents now rather than what "really" matters and people are stressed out and blah blah blah. I'm not buying it anymore.
Christmas is a time to be generous. If we were normally generous people, being generous at Christmas wouldn't be bad at all, in fact it would be a celebration. But the fact is, most of us are not generous. We think we're generous types, we'd like to be generous, but really when it comes down to it in our day-to-day interactions, we maybe think about being generous and then we're not. We do not put out as a society. In fact Canadians have been measured to be some of the least generous as a population when it comes to giving to charity.
What happens at Christmas is that we're asked to be generous and it hurts. What comes up is where we are not generous and having that revealed to ourselves can be painful. Maybe we don't spend our money appropriately throughout the year so we could be giving back along the way so it wouldn't bite so hard in December. If we were doing random acts of kindness and springing Our Favourite Things on our friends in June, doing a little something-something in December would be natural and fun.
And it's not about the stuff. Our lives are so full of work and busy-ness that to spend more time at Mom's or to visit our relatives or attend parties occurs for us as massive to-dos. But if we've been visiting regularly and hanging out throughout the year, then Christmas isn't a chore, but another opportunity to get together and play!
Nothing's wrong with Christmas. And nothing's wrong with people either. People are people. Most of us don't like each other and don't really want to be with each other once we're adults. (I'm exaggerating, but not much.) We don't want to lend a helping hand or do something extra that might cause us to have to give up something - an episode of a show, a few minutes of sleep, a few bucks.
And I don't believe for a second that this is a modern problem or that there's anything new about it. If we could hear from people in cultures across space and time, there would be a grumbling about whatever the name of the holiday is or the event is that asks us to be generous. If you've been generous all year, Christmas is a blast. If you haven't, Christmas is a drag. Check it out!
So Christmas really is a pose. A pose that stretches the muscles of generosity and kindness. For many of us, those are pretty tight muscles as we've been contracted all year long. Christmas asks us to stretch in this way, so my suggestion is find the places you feel the most and breathe into them. And then add this stretch to your regular practice so you can feel more comfortable in it. Watch what happens!
Enjoy the rest of your Christmas shopping!