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The best gift of all

The best gift of all

The best gift of all

In the Netherlands, where I come from, traditionally we don’t share gifts for Christmas. Instead on December 5th, we have a celebration called Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicklaus. Saint Nick comes from Spain on a steamship, rides a white horse over the rooftops and his many attendants crawl down chimneys to hand out gifts to the kids who haven’t been naughty. Christmas in Holland is still predominantly a feast where the birth of Christ is celebrated and under the trees, instead of gifts, you mostly find a manger with statuettes of baby Jesus, his parents, the wise men, and some shepherds.

The best gift of allAs Christmas draws closer, we get excited at the prospect of giving and receiving. We all love receiving gifts and perhaps sharing beautiful presents with loved ones. What we’re less familiar with is giving to ourselves, doing something for our own wellbeing and staying connected with the inner spirit of Christmas.

We get so caught up with the festivities and buying and wrapping gifts, that we hardly have the time and energy to stand still and ask ourselves: “What do I need? If I truly listen to myself, what is most needed in my life right now?”

There is something beautiful in such silent introspection. Sitting down with a cup of coffee, doing nothing, and listening within. Stopping the madness and paying attention to yourself, if even for just a few minutes. We’ve been so programmed to stay busy that doing this almost seems selfish. Instead, we keep throwing our energy out without taking the time to replenish and ask the important questions.

Is looking after yourself really selfish?

I always compare it with maintaining the engine of your car. No matter how beautiful and comfortable your car is, without engine maintenance it is bound to fail sooner or later. Your internal being is that engine. Without proper care, the journey is bound to end abruptly. So paying attention to the internal engine of our being is not only necessary but urgent.

It’s like the classic example of the pressure dropping in an airplane. Who is advised to take the oxygen mask first? Always the mother so that she remains capable of helping the other children. We owe it to ourselves to remain centered and at peace, especially during this busy holiday season, so that we may be fully present to share our love with others.

And first and foremost, not to forget what the spirit of Christmas is all about. Isn’t the birth of Christ a beautiful metaphor for birthing within us the realization that we too, are inherently divine? That the Kingdom of God is a state of consciousness we can access, live in and share with others? The greatest gift to humanity is realizing this truth, because the light you will share with others is what the world needs most. The first thing required therefore is to become Christ-like ourselves.

It’s kind of an alien concept in our Western world. Fundamentalists will even tell you: “How dare you!” But we need not be afraid to know that deep within us resides our true Self. And that unwrapping that gift is the greatest gift of all. Merry Christmas everybody!!

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