But it is not the egoic “giving” that we encounter during the Christmas season in the Western society. The abundance and extravagance, the gluttony and self-indulgence, the over-saturation and surfeit.
There is another kind of giving:
‘It suits the generous one to give money,
but truly the generosity of the lover
is to surrender the soul.’
This is a stanza from Rumi’s teaching ” Give your Life” and it has been with me all day today. I have had a beautiful Christmas, with everything you could wish for – a big family, children, presents, champagne, christmas tree, music, singing, happiness, love and beauty. And I looked at all of it, still thinking -what does it mean to surrender the soul ?
To me it means to be real, true and authentic – regardless of what the others do or think. I had a discussion with my twelve year old niece today, who said: ” I just want everything to stay the same” – and she meant the traditions and rituals of her Christmas. My sister had tried to change something and that had caused a major protest and lack of understanding. So I look at the family Christmas, that is not so different from the Christmas I had as a child, and I wondered, what it is that is driving everyone to go at great length to co-operate together for another fabulous Christmas. Is it the desire to fulfill an expectation and create a memory ?
Do not misunderstand me. I love the way I am able to celebrate Christmas and I do like the rituals and traditions. But I watch it and despite the joy of being together and having a good time, I somehow miss the soul in it. I see a strange mixture of true joy – but also acting and playing a role, living up to expectations and knowing one’s part.
And then it occurrs to me that there is only one to surrender the soul – me.
So I just do, and I forget about being critical, or to worry – I say to myself – this Christmas is what I have this year and it is as loud, chaotic and fun as always. And then I go and find some moments of stillness on my own. Pondering about this holy night, the veil that feels so thin, and the spirit that seems to permeate everything.
‘if you give your life for God’s sake,
you will be given life in return.’
Merry Christmas everyone.