Monday, December 7, 2015

The Five Gifts of Christmas - Gift Two: The Gift of Awe

Last week someone sent me a video on Facebook of the Christmas train all lit up and traveling over hill and dale somewhere is beautiful, snowy Canada. I sat there like a little kid watching the lights glowing in the dark and reflecting colors off of the snow. I react the same way when I see a Christmas tree all lit up outside. I watch the lighting of the tree in New York City on TV every year - a born and bred Big Apple girl here who never gets tired of seeing that tree come to life even after all these years. I spent many a Christmas season up close and personal watching the skaters swirl around that tree. If I live to be 100, when it comes to the beauty of Christmas, I am always a 5 year old filled with awe.

As kids there are lots of things besides Christmas that fill us with awe. When we are little, we see the whole world like that. Every day there is something to see or experience that tells us the world is a magical place. Then we grow up. The awe is gone and so is the magic. If we're lucky, it comes back once in a while, especially during the holiday season, and if we let ourselves feel it, we can all be 5 years old again if only for a few weeks. Somewhere along the way we crossed an invisible line and our parents, or our culture, or our teachers started telling us to "grow up" and leave the things of childhood behind. I totally disagree with that. I think when we believed in magic and let ourselves feel the awe in a Christmas tree, or a firefly, or a flock of geese passing overhead, we were our authentic selves. We were at our best.

When I became a grandmother, I found my awe again. I started seeing the world through the eyes of my grandchildren and I realized what I had been missing all of these years. When my own children were small, I was too busy trying to make a life and keep a roof over our heads to find the time to stop and find my awe again. I cannot tell you how I regret that, not only for myself, but for experiences with my girls that I missed out on. Now I look up at a cold, clear, starry night and I see miracles. I watch a Christmas train glowing in the night and I feel joy. I watch a Christmas tree light up for the first time and I feel love for the whole world.

This season, I give you the gift of awe. Let yourself receive it as that 5 year old you used to be. Look for it everywhere and remember what a beautiful place the world can be when we come out of the darkness and turn on the lights for all to see. Let your own light be awesome!

And so it is.