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Dark Days and Dark Moods

Dark days can mean dark moods. This natural turn of the seasons helps explain the timing of Christmas. It is the festival of light, the return of the sun and longer periods of daylight. It’s a time of renewal and hope, sentiments we feel as we watch the skies and see faint signs of the sun returning. What happens in December in the northern hemisphere is a natural symbol. You don’t need a dictionary or an encyclopedia to know that the dark sky parallels your darkened heart. You feel it in your body and then in your emotions. The sky mirrors your feelings, and your pulse beats with the special rhythms of night and day. The turn of the sun on the day of solstice may well coincide with a turn in your spirits.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas

 

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A Celebration of Profound Change

People usually think of Christmas as a traditional and sentimental festival, but not as a celebration of the Jesus vision it commemorates: a philosophy of profound reform. The child lying in the manger would become perhaps the most radical of all spiritual visionaries, showing how to live more joyfully and communally. Many people today feel an underlying anxiety due to world events and the challenges of getting along in a complicated world. Christmas allows a break from that gray depression, an inner darkness reflected in the winter sky. 

—from the book The Soul of Christmas

 

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Symbol of Joy

The Christmas tree, so simple and yet so strange, is a natural symbol that speaks to many people without elaborate explanation. It was there, you remember it, you know it was meaningful, even if you can’t put that meaning into words. The lights and ornaments made you happy. You knew that Christmas was a special time, though you have never heard about liminality, utopia, or soul and spirit.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore

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Let Yourself Go

The excesses common during the Christmas season—too many gifts, too much partying, traveling great distances to see family members—are part of this traditional license common to festivals, especially, as we’ll see, those festivals associated with the solstices. It’s tempting to judge ourselves and others for going too far, but it might be more in the spirit of the season to find it in ourselves to allow such excesses. The whole idea is to drop some of the limitations that we usually bring to serious areas of life and be free momentarily of their weight.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas

 

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Don’t Lose the Wonder

If you don’t have special times in your life that are liminal, that put the ordinary into eclipse, then you are condemned to a dull life of facts and predictability. You have no enchantment, and without the charm of the liminal your soul goes to sleep and you become like a robot. Your very humanity depends on the interplay of the ordinary and the wondrous. We all know that children are especially susceptible to the thin veil of Christmas, but in our own way we adults could be more open to its impact. You don’t have to “believe” in Santa Claus to get into the spirit of the season or to be uplifted by its special charm, but you have to be aware of your need for light and have some hope and vision that light will be there.

—from the book The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore

 

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