THE BLOG
12/10/2013 12:17 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2014

Gratitude and the Gift of Life

A main point of holidays and holy days alike is to find moments of wholeness. Holidays are intended to break the march of common time and interrupt the surface flood of details and distractions in order to turn to things that are deeper, greater and more enduring. Not just things that are more wholesome, but that are also more holy. Holy has to do with the inner life of the soul and with being related to the great Soul of the World. Holy has to do with feeling connected to the dance of life, to the cycling of the seasons, and the whole big song of creation ongoing... if only for a moment. For, in a moment of feeling whole inside, the whole world is revealed to be a holy place and each moment of that order becomes momentous and meaningful, even life-defining as it continues to live on inside us.

Consciously feeling part of the whole of creation is an aspect of the collective human inheritance of the gift of life (see attached video). Holidays and holy days found all over the world are intended to bring us back to the sense that life is a gift continuously waiting to be uncovered, to be revealed and be seen anew. The giving of gifts and acts of thankfulness, the lighting of candles and sharing holiday cheer in the dark of the year, demonstrate that we know in some way that there is an underlying wholeness and holiness to life. Whether it is Hanukkah or Thanksgiving, Christmas or Winter Solstice, New Year's Eve or a festival of light, the human instinct to move closer to the source of light and life intensifies when the world around us grows darker and colder.

We give children gifts and more freedom to play, we light candles, even bring evergreen trees inside in order to feel closer to the source of light and life. For, more than the happiness of children or the elevation of the economy is at stake, especially when life itself has become more uncertain and frequently more tragic. When people forget that life, however troubled it may become, is a gift and that each person arrives here already gifted; then the world becomes truly a darker place. In these dark and confusing times, amidst growing disparity, increasing polarity and rampant inauthenticity, the wonder of the gift of life is more easily obscured and more readily lost.

All aspects of generosity and hoarding, all issues of giving and not giving revolve around the core issue of becoming conscious of our inner giftedness and essential worthiness and how we are intended to join the ongoing dance of creation. When the meaning of the gift of life is understood, the life of each child becomes more meaningful, the life of each young person becomes more valuable and those who are older become as elders consciously giving back to the community of life. Genuinely giving to others reflects the deeply human capacity for becoming conscious of the gift of life.