And I guess that's why it's called Sanctuary - there are all these wonderful places to travel and visit in consciousness that are the antidote to the often painful effects of human kind to manifest such things in the Hard, with electricity consuming light bulbs and strange men dressed up as Santas.
The trick is to keep one's mind firmly on the SPIRIT of the season, and not get side tracked too much with what one sees and hears on the highstreet, or on TV - it's a kind of magic, and something that gets better with practice!
In any family, in any gathering a person who can do that, even for a moment or two, to hold the SPIRIT OF THE SEASON in their hearts and in their energy systems, if you want to be technical, such a person becomes a fountain for everyone around them.
And when that happens, there is a good chance that all that magic becomes real, and there are moments where we can really feel it - the gifts of the season of light.
I'll leave that thought with you, as I do the question of how we can make it so, each one of us, to allow the spirit of the season to move us individually, so we can share it with others too.
There are many opportunities here to practice our personal development and use the spirit of the season to be like a special wind in the sails, beneath the wings of our unfolding lives.
We may confront our own cynicism and disappointments that have accrued across the years where there was no one who could serve as a fountain, bring the light and the real holiness to events and gatherings that were held in the name only.
We may observe the commercialism, the lip service, the meaningless rituals and the stress of how this season of lights is handled by our various societies and fellow humans and attempt to do so without prejudice, without judgement and with compassion for those who really do not understand that behind all of that there really is something real, something that could be beautiful if only we could reach there, and touch that.
We may endeavour to pay attention to our own responses, our own thoughts and feelings and we may try to do things differently, to feel things differently, to act differently and so, to change the river of events over which we do have a lot of leverage, if not exactly a lot of control.
Most of all, here is an opportunity to contemplate the practice of receiving gifts - gifts of spirit, gifts of food and comfort, gifts of love, however clumsily attempted and badly executed, it's the will that counts, the intention, that's the spirit of the thing.
To give is easy, but to receive is hard, because that is when you have to drop your shields and become vulnerable; open the doors of your castles and fortresses, to let something in, to make it your own, to allow it to change that which was there before.
Can you look someone in the eye and say, "Thank you" for a gift, received, and have that be an experience of love in action?
Can you take a moment to stop when someone wishes you a "Happy Christmas!" and take that in, and then respond in kind?
Can you remember to step outside your own stresses and schedules, thoughts, pressures, worries and insecurities, and become the fountain?
I think we all can, and deep down, we all want to; and perhaps it is not so deep down after all, but just right there, and all we have to do to touch that wellspring of love we have to give is to take a deep breath, and perhaps another one, and let all that stress flow away, be taken away by the brilliant calm and triumphant peace and clarity of the season of light itself.
In this spirit, I send you my season's greetings and my best wishes to have a truly wonder full time.
December 12th, 2008