What Christmas means to me?

by Sally Scott, Manager, Perth WA

Christmas is a tradition for many. On the Google search engine it says that some 2 billion people celebrate Christmas worldwide. So I asked myself, what is it that people believe they are celebrating? We have public holidays for it, concerts, huge shopping sales around this time of year, businesses shut down to give their employees time off, families plan holidays and get-togethers, there is usually large amounts of food prepared and eaten, alcohol is consumed, houses are decorated with coloured lights and ornaments, some make and decorate gingerbread houses, and for some it is the time of the year (the only time of the year) they visit a church or participate in religious services or ceremonies.

Looking at the Wikipedia definition of Christmas, I am told that it is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus and a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on the 25th December by millions of people around the world. Now I do not claim to be an expert on the Bible, but is Christmas mentioned anywhere in the Bible? There is mention of Jesus’ birth, but I couldn’t find any record in the Bible referring to anyone observing Christmas.

I have considered the customs associated with Christmas, and there are many, as countries and families tend to develop their own traditions. Wikipedia, as cited above, has a clear definition of the meaning of Christmas. So what do decorated evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, a jolly plump man in a fur-lined red suit, sleighs and flying reindeer have to do with the birth of Jesus or the meaning of Christmas?

Let me share my experience of this time of year based on where I work, live and my family and friends.

Within my work environment people seem to be very busy and getting very tired. There is a perceived belief that time is running out – the year is ending and yet there is much to complete. There is an added pressure to all of this because our social calendars get busier and there is little time for rest or relaxation. We eat more, we drink more, or more often, and we get less sleep because we are out celebrating. In the industry I work in it is a busy time of year. Domestic violence increases, maybe because alcohol consumption increases, there are more clients with suicidal tendencies or ideations, homelessness becomes more of an issue as services shut down to celebrate Christmas, providing a festive meal for a family is a burden not a joy, giving gifts to children brings pressure and strain rather than merriment and laughter.

I work with clients who are beaten and abused this time of year or have past trauma triggered. The couple of days before Christmas our service was dealing with a family whose daughter had been murdered; putting in safety plans for the public holidays with clients who were suicidal; asking the state child protection unit to follow-up with a family as we had safety concerns for a young child and an unborn child; and supporting a woman to undergo surgery because she had been slashed up by her ex-partner, who had breached his restraining order (or similar) and taken to her with a machete.

To go from a day like that to the supermarket crowds on Christmas Eve was a little surreal. Watching people bumping into each other as they rushed to get their grocery shopping completed; feeling people’s frustrations because in their mind the shopping queues were far too long; seeing people being rude and disrespectful to the person at the check-out, simply because they were trying to connect to customers, be joyful and have a conversation; and seeing people getting angry and frustrated in the parking lots and on the roads, presumably because someone was in the way or slowing them down.

On arriving home, I went for a walk. During this walk I got to look back over the last couple of days. I could feel the craziness of the world outside, compared to the stillness and love that I felt within… this craziness was definitely magnified at Christmas.

So what does Christmas mean for me? It is about staying with myself and allowing myself to see and feel the beauty, grace, joy, harmony and love within the world and within people, rather than getting caught up in the craziness of life and other people’s experiences and realities. I do not rush around and see people or go too crazy with the Christmas shopping. I do connect with family, friends and colleagues as I would at any other time of the year.

Christmas morning I got up early and sat with myself and felt how still, supportive, loving and nurturing the day was. I had a choice to feel this for the entire day, to take this feeling with me as I spent time with family and friends. I spent time with my family, lovingly cooking food to share with others. I sat with my extended family for most of the day as kids played and adults talked; it was joyful and loving.

Thanks to the teachings of Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon, I can connect more to that than the ‘in my face’ craziness that I see every day. It is not about being caught up in this hectic and stressful time of year, buying presents and rushing around catching up with people: for me it is not about celebrating the birth of Jesus, either. It is about slowing down, maybe even stopping, to remember that Jesus lived a life serving people, supporting people and loving people, and he did this regardless of who they were. It is a time to remember that we are all special and that we can make choices to be with ourselves. Jesus was not special – remarkable in how he lived his life, perhaps – but not special.

Just as Serge is not special, but very amazing because he too lives a life that is committed and dedicated to people. He has questions, and he poses them to us for consideration. They are questions that are simple and yet allow us to reflect on the choices we are making in our lives, which ultimately lead to what we are creating for ourselves and others. Questions that just may get more of us to stop and look at how we are being with each other. Questions that one day will have more of us choosing a different way to live with each other, so that there is more love, glory, joy and harmony in the world rather than the stress, trauma and chaos of the kind that was so evident around me leading up to this Christmas.

126 thoughts on “What Christmas means to me?

  1. Christmas to me is no different to any other time of the year and certainly not to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If Jesus were alive today would he appreciate the fuss and the masses giving their power away to the adoration of him. I think not. He lived as a son of God no different to you or I in essence inspiring and leading the way for us all to join him to claim and live as a son of God too.

  2. Christmas is so often full of drama, shops full of people going crazy over Christmas, all this chaos for one day. For the last few years I have made it more about connecting with friends and family, cooking something lovely to share and enjoying each other’s company as we would any time we all get together.

  3. It is deeply concerning that domestic violence and suicide rates increase around Christmas time, this is something that as a society we need to address as this issue is harming so many innocent people.

  4. Reading what it is like at your work place around Christmas, I could feel how we might use this time of the year to make efforts to be caring and generous towards each other, particularly those who we would normally ignore at other times of the year, like homeless people, to tick boxes to feel ok about ourselves and return to our usual mode of operation the next day. Christmas does not have to be a special day when we dig out and put on a special something, a meal, a party, behaviour etc., if Christmas reminds us of a way of living that we feel worth aspiring to, why keep it only to one day out of 365?

  5. As the celebration of the life and teachings of Jesus, Christmas should be a moment of confirmation of the love we are; a moment of repose. Instead, it is a moment of absolute motion; a moment within which there is no connection with the body. Not by chance it is a troubled time.

  6. I do still look forward to the Christmas period- I find that although it is hectic that at times people also do stop and connect with each other more and there is a bit of a family focus to the period. However, like you explain if there are issues in the family these often come to the surface more at this time and it also can be a period where some feel incredibly lonely.

  7. I used to think everyone celebrated Christmas, but as there are about 7.6 billion of us, actually the majority of the world population doesn’t. I do like it as a time to reflect on the year gone by and how I want things to be going forward into the New Year. A great time to take stock.

  8. What an exposure and reality of Christmas. What I like mostly about Christmas is it is a time to stop, connect, rest / surrender deeply, take stock and confirm the year I have had. And, as Sally as claimed this can be done on a mini-scale throughout our year.

  9. Serge Benhayon has inspired me to bring the joy back into celebration with family and friends as we reflect on the year we have lived and as we prepare for the next year that is coming towards us.

  10. How we live our Christmas is certainly up to us! Thank you Sally for showing us this, Christmas is how we make it and what energy are we choosing to live in at this time.

  11. I really get the sense from reading this blog of humanity’s behaviours really getting magnified and the speeding up that goes on at Christmas time rather than it being a time to slow down and stop and assess how the year has been.

  12. In today’s world, it’s almost like a crazy spirit of Christmas takes over too many of us over the month of December and gets us all into a frenzy of activity and over indulging on many levels and in too many ways – but in this process we seem to have forgotten that life is truly about quality, and in particular the quality of relationships we have with each other that is lived throughout the year and thus should not be appreciated just on one day.

  13. This is the definition of Christmas we should be seeing on Wikipedia! “It is about slowing down, maybe even stopping, to remember that Jesus lived a life serving people, supporting people and loving people, and he did this regardless of who they were. It is a time to remember that we are all special and that we can make choices to be with ourselves. Jesus was not special – remarkable in how he lived his life, perhaps – but not special.”

  14. I always enjoy reading this article… Christmas is so surreal and it is great to be exposing it for what it truly is, to give the next generations the opportunity to free themselves from the ongoing tyranny of enforced relation interaction ☺

  15. Whether Christmas or any other time of chaos, it is a blessing to be able to connect to and hold the stillness within and move through life with that as your foundation so to not get affected by the choices of others. Life is far more beautiful when we do.

  16. We have created a funny time of the year; that which is Christmas and New year. Where everything winds up to crazy pace. How much harm are we causing ourselves by living, eating and pushing ourselves in this way. No surprises that domestic violence increases at this time of year. Having worked in hospitals for a long time too, the same thing happens it’s generally busier, but some services are closed or on skeleton staffing. It doesn’t make sense. Some how we think that because its Christmas, it will be less busy when in fact we know it will be the opposite. Maybe that is why it can be a crazy time of year, so we get it over and done with. But that’s not true either, getting them over and done with that is. For every thing and every moment that remains incomplete stays with us.

  17. This is a great expose on the craziness of Christmas Sally. And I agree it is a great opportunity, when the world just does not make any sense, to reconnect to our inner self and bring that inner connection to everything we do rather than enjoin the craziness.

  18. I certainly have been in reaction to Christmas over the past few years but Christmas 2016 was different. I began to feel an acceptance which I had not felt before. Christmas was going to carry on around me whether I liked it or not but it was how I was and what was going on within me at this time of the year. It wasn’t perfect as I did get stressed for a couple of days when the children broke up from school but as a family we did manage to go for a swim in the run up which would have been unheard of in previous years. What did stand out was my pondering on the story of the birth of Jesus and my observations around me. I appreciated the time to remember him and the way he chose to live but I also felt that it wasn’t about celebrating his birth. I often had feelings which I have had many times before in that how he would feel about all the hype and adoration if he were to be alive today.

  19. ‘I got up early and sat with myself and felt how still, supportive, loving and nurturing the day was’. Love this and gorgeous to read it and then to feel this for every new day…..what a way to start the day!

  20. What have we done and what are we doing with Christmas and is this just a reflection of what we are doing in the other 364 days in the year. We are walking away from the true meaning of things and then year after year these ‘things’ slowly don’t resemble the original mark. Christmas is a great example, it still holds some value but we can see that year after year it is becoming and has become something else. Is this just Christmas or are there other things we can see the same happening and what are we doing about it. If you run around during the year chasing time, trying to do everything, fitting as much in to a day as possible etc then days like Christmas will only flow on the same. It’s great to see people talking, not of the true meaning of Christmas but looking at how we allow things to change or to be taken over by beliefs that that’s how things should be or accepting that this is just how things are. We need to keep our collective heads up and make sure that in each day, each moment, each Christmas that we are seeing a world that reflects what we want to live. If you are exhausted at any point but let’s talk about Christmas, if you are exhausted by Christmas end the you haven’t lived that day it has lived you. In other words you only think that what you did was you otherwise if it was you you maybe body tired but not exhausted and not looking forward to the next day. Do we wake with the joy for the day or the regret from yesterday? Christmas is all manner of things and what we need to do as individuals together is to bring back the quality, the appreciation for what has been done in the past. We could ask who truly was Jesus, not from a memory of what was taught but do some digging. Simply he was a man just like you and I that chose to live in a quality that supported himself and everyone.

  21. When you look at Christmas like this Sally you can start to see how ‘tradition’ changes from the original intention to be something we all prefer to see. Any initial meaning or significance gets seriously lost in translation. When you consider what Jesus came to represent and the festivities we have today that to me seem so unkind and mindless, should this not give us serious pause to consider just how many otherwise teachers have come and just what wisdom has been given that we have, up until now, run away from? Waking up to this fact could be the greatest present we would ever receive.

  22. Wow! Now that’s perspective! Thanks for sharing the reality of what goes on for people at this manic time of year. It’s crazy what we allow ourselves to get swept up in, only to repeat the cycle the following year. For what gain I wonder?

  23. We can react to this holiday and be seen a Grinch of sorts or embrace it in your own way. I have 5 kids and saying to them the Christmas is a crock is not an option but showing them how to be steady in the craziest time of year is. No stress but a Christmas tree, no hours of cooking but an amazing bring a plate event, not heaps of money spent but group amazing second hand trampoline and table tennis table that has brung them all together. No candy canes but sugar free lollies that made them sick and put them off Lollies for life, haha. This is my way, your way may be different and that’s what is beautiful. I know that the kids feel the differences, as they don’t demand, they are always over appreciative of everything they get, even the underwear that we wrap and call a pressy and their joy on Christmas is equal to every other day in our house!

  24. ‘It is a time to remember that we are all special and that we can make choices to be with ourselves.’ In this self made intense time it is a great reminder to go inside ourselves to find this place of stillness and be a beacon of light in this world that is getting more crazy every day.

  25. Not getting caught up in all the beliefs and ideals around Christmas and seeing them for what they are has been most supportive for me. I sit here the day before Christmas in my part of the world, still not having all gifts bought for our families… a pang of worry comes up every now and again but I know it is just from a ‘should’ instead of what feels true. This really jumped out at me, “There is a perceived belief that time is running out – the year is ending and yet there is much to complete.” because how crazy this belief is, I’ve been feeling it too, yet it does not make sense as what is there to be done will be no different come January 1st 2017 than December 31st 2016. How we are living, communicating, relating etc are with us everyday regardless of the time of the year.

  26. Thank you for sharing Sally, I love observing how people load their shopping trolley up as if the shops will be closed for weeks, how people become self-obsessed, and have no awareness of others who are trying to do their shopping too. There are mini trolley rages, little scuffles to get something first, and no patience at all at the long queues.

  27. We certainly do not have to go far to see the trauma and distress that is happening in the world… This morning’s newspapers reported that in just our state , police are responding to almost half 1 million domestic violence calls each year… And that is what is happening behind closed doors… No wonder sometimes out of the street it can be pretty intense if this is what is happening in the home.

  28. I love how you sat in stillness with yourself on Christmas day Sally and felt how nurturing and loving the day would unfold for you. By you making this simple choice you are inspiring others to also making choices that are based on love instead of all the beliefs and ideals around Christmas that many act out and yet never question.

  29. Amidst the craziness… it’s beautiful that you have shared the stillness you connected to Sally. Something I have learnt to appreciate deeply for several years now, is the quality of stillness and how remaining in touch with this innate quality within is not only exquisite, but supports us in our daily life – inclusive of the craziness that may present around us.
    To me, Christmas is a time to remain still – and not lose ourselves in the plethora of bombardments that would ask us to be otherwise. In stillness, we celebrate each other truly, and the unique qualities we all bring. Connections can be heartfelt, meaningful, joyful and poignant – as can be so every day of our year.

  30. I notice there are more and more people feeling the raciness created around Christmas and it’s not what they truly want. I know more people are lessening their shopping and focus more on what they feel is important such as meeting family and friends. But we’re still caught up in it enough to feel that we’d rather skip it, but we dare not admit it. I enjoy the coming together and I love eating great food but the part with the presents and the drinking and staying up too late is not my thing. What we truly want is what I can feel reading your blog. We would love to feel the stillness, the coming back to ourselves, being with our family, the recreation, the preparation for meeting a new year with new possibilities. I think most of us are just not quite sure how to get there. Universal Medicine does present ways to get there though and it’s easier that we might think.

    1. Isn’t it interesting that the one day we are meant to, by what you see in the movies, advertised in shops etc, love and enjoy and be with family, most would rather skip it all together. I have been like that and there is still a part of me that goes I wish it was over but what is it that we are feeling that is not true or loving about this time of year that we would rather forgo? For me, it’s the expectations and obligatory feeling that comes up around gift giving…. feeling the neediness of others to be fulfilled by what they are given yet not giving to themselves. Great reminder really to just observe and not judge or absorb what is there.

  31. This is an incredibly grounding blog Sally. It puts things in perspective yes, but not to bring anyone down about the reality of the world we live in but to talk about how we can either contribute to that reality that pulls us in every direction so we behave in a way that is a far cry from love or, to bring a responsibility to the way we live that does not contribute but offers more connection to ourselves and others.

  32. Lovely to feel the stillness in this article and connect to the fact that this is available to all of us every day and anyone can choose this and therefore not get caught up in the ever increasing craziness of Christmas which for so many is a challenging time of year. The more of us that reflect an alternative way of being that enables us to stay with ourselves whatever is happening around us the more humanity will understand that they too have a choice to connect to their inner stillness and live a way of life that makes every day a celebration.

  33. “I could feel the craziness of the world outside, compared to the stillness and love that I felt within… this craziness was definitely magnified at Christmas.” So true Sally and the stark contrast between the dis-function – on so many different levels. I love the questions that Serge asks of us – ‘Questions that one day will have more of us choosing a different way to live with each other, so that there is more love, glory, joy and harmony in the world rather than the stress, trauma and chaos….’ Its up to us – our choice – do we really want to continue with the way we have all been living? Universal Medicine presented this to me – and every day I now have an opportunity to truly choose how I live my life today and every day, including Christmas.

  34. Serge Benhayon asks “Questions that one day will have more of us choosing a different way to live with each other, so that there is more love, glory, joy and harmony in the world” what an amazing gift to offer the world.

  35. Great observations on the frenzied behaviour that precedes this phenomenon we call Christmas and which sparks the full range of debilitating social issues such as those you’ve described. Whither the real love, harmony and stillness that is part of the ideology? We have forgotten that it’s inside us all and that it’s not just available on December 25th, but there every day for us to feel, connect to and if we choose, to live by.

  36. I love what you shared about the stillness you can feel within regardless of the chaos going on around you. This is such a blessing to connect to and such a deep support in disengaging from the manic energy and pressure that Christmas time brings… how gorgeous to know you can choose another way to be than this.

  37. Thank you Sally for your observations on the goings on at christmas time and the amount of dysfunction going on underneath all the so called merriment.

  38. It is a sobering reminder to come back to how many experience Christmas and this time of year in respect of increased abuse, homelessness, extra pressure and stress at work, in relationships etc. – the total opposite of what Christmas is portrayed as. What strikes me though (& I too have been previously caught up in this) is how and why we get caught up in this in the first place? It poses the question .. what is it about our everyday daily lives that feel incomplete or empty without this focus on Christmas, and could it in fact be that we focus so much on this time of year because we don’t feel this completion and fullness within ourselves and therefore look to the outside to make up for it (with Christmas being the perfect excuse)…?

  39. Thank you Sally, I agree, for me every day is a joy and celebration and life, as we know it would be totally different if humanity accepted and lived in that joy-full celebration. The natural joy that we are, is a reality in me as a student of the Livingness. For me this became a reality when I took true responsibility thanks to the presentations of Serge Benhayon. When I was choosing the drugs that were abusive to myself and others, life was like being on a knife’s edge. I either went into hiding, saying everything felt good or ‘every thing is good’ and did not express the truth of what I was feeling, or I would get angry and mad. Both had the same affect, I hardened my body and shut down to truly feeling!

    Celebrating our true good comes with a true connection and a responsibility to stay connected to our innermost or the esoteric, as presented by Serge Benhayon. To me, if there is no celebration of self in the true joy we are, how can we celebrate or truly appreciate another? Christmas, as much in life, has become a façade to hide and never show the true love and joy that is a lived wisdom we are all naturally returning to.

  40. Christmas in Europe, where it all began, was originally a nature religion’s celebration of the shortest day of the year and the “returning” of the Sun, they worshipped the Sun being born again. Whereas in truth it is the northern hemisphere that gets closer to the fire of the Sun, which is symbolic of the realignment to the light of the Soul. I love to read the symbolism in nature and it reminds me that we can never deviate too much from the Soul, before we inevitably return.

  41. You are right Sally, there is a totally different way of living with each other, that honours the unique quality that we all bring, and openly accepts the interconnectedness of all things, so there is no separation…

  42. You have beautifully encapsulated the craziness we have made Christmas, Sally; the total commercialism and the misguided reasons for celebrating this event and the fact that people end up spending more, eating more, drinking more, but not necessarily enjoying it more, as a result of these excesses. Celebrating like this has only served to create more stress in our lives, but how very different would it be if we made this time: “about slowing down, maybe even stopping, to remember that Jesus lived a life serving people, supporting people and loving people, and he did this regardless of who they were”.

  43. Sally I love what you share about Christmas. ’It is about slowing down, maybe even stopping, to remember that Jesus lived a life serving people, supporting people and loving people, and he did this regardless of who they were. It is a time to remember that we are all special and that we can make choices to be with ourselves. Jesus was not special – remarkable in how he lived his life, perhaps – but not special.’ Christmas is should not be about the presents we give but the celebration of the presence we bring to all our relationships and our connections with others. How could we have commercialized Christmas so much so that we have forgotten this?

  44. Thanks Sally. Christmas can be a really crazy time for many people and seems to be totally out of sync with common sense. People cave in to all sorts of expectations they place on themselves or that are coming at them from the outside world. For many the idea of doing things differently simply doesn’t enter their mind. Yet if we bring it back to how we can stay present with ourselves the whole experience changes from one of emotional over drive to one of tranquillity, harmony and joy. It’s a ‘no brainer’ which one I’m working on choosing this coming Christmas.

  45. The trauma, chaos and exhaustion of the real world doesn’t stop for Christmas Day. I enjoyed reading your sharing here Sally and how you approach Christmas feels to be most loving and supporting of self and family at this time of the year.

  46. Refreshing to read a realistic account of the madness that sets in as people get caught up in the consciousness of Christmas. Not just the shopping frenzies, the boozy, paper hat work dos, the meaningless cards, but your description of the ‘joys’ of Social Care at this merry time of year serve to underline the true emptiness that gets magnified by the unrealistic expectations of jingle bell happiness and ho-ho-ho.

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