script type='text/javascript' src=''>

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Give the gift of the season for everyone, a classic

This year Thomas Moore shares a Christmas message about his classic book, The Soul of Christmas: "Christmas is one of the most holy and meaningful of times, but people don’t always understand its depth and universality.

Some think it is mainly for children, but it also appeals to the child spirit in adults. It evokes the eternal, archetypal and mythic child. C. G. Jung, the spiritually oriented Swiss psychoanalyst, writes that images of a child point to all beginnings in life, all kinds of renewal and possibilities. So Christmas is about the eternal child, in us and in our culture, its new beginnings and its hope for a peaceful world.

Some think that Christmas is too commercial, but maybe they don’t realize that gift-giving is a perfect ritual expression of its very essence.

Some are confused about whether they should honor Christmas since they are not Christian. Yet the roots of Christmas lie far deeper than Christianity. Christmas is a religious or spiritual festival, but it comes from a religious sensibility deep in every human being, and it belongs to everyone.

Santa Claus is a truly holy figure, an example for all of us at this time. His name, Santa, means saint or holy person, and he embodies one of the main virtues and values of Christmas: the spirit of giving and generosity. He offers an example of how we might behave if we relaxed the narcissistic fantasy of ownership and the hoarding of money and property that is such a pillar of modern life.

Christmas is a liminal time, an unusual period when the normal ways are turned upside down, allowing us to reassess our values. Santa teaches radical generosity and an economic system of gift-giving. Santa’s way is not communistic or socialistic but an example of giving of yourself rather than always trying to take and possess.

The story of Jesus’s birth, so beautiful and inspiring, also speaks to everyone who holds an image of a better world motivated less by narcissistic self-interest and more by generosity of heart. Jesus as infant is our world in the infancy of its maturing toward universal love.

A few years ago I wrote a book that was published by Franciscan Media, appropriately by monks dedicated to the selfless and heart-centered philosophy of St. Francis. In this book I explore many “symbols” of Christmas — the tree, the star, animals, a stable, a struggling mother — and show how anyone, no matter what their background and beliefs may be, can deepen their appreciation for this meaningful season.

Yes, we may become too frazzled by shopping, even online. But these excesses don’t take away the essential beauty of this annual ritual that is tied closely to the short, dark days of December and the return of light, a sign of hope and the end of emotional darkness.

Here are links to purchase my book, The Soul of Christmas, which might brighten and deepen your experience of this inspirational season. Buy at Franciscan Media or Amazon.

Wishing you a beautiful holiday,
Thomas Moore