Naked For Christmas


Subject: Naked For Christmas
callanw@crosswinds.net
Date: Tue 22 Dec 1998 - 15:20:18 GMT

Have a joyous and connected solstice. . . .

Callan

Naked For Christmas
Callan Williams 1998

On Christmas Eve, with the warmth of a fire and the light of a candle, our
mind still alive with the swirl of good company, we take off clothing and go
to bed, waiting for a magical spirit to enter our world once more. In that
moment, by the light of the moon, we play out our own Christmas ritual,
getting naked for Christmas. We huddle together against the cold light,
trusting in the warmth of those near us, vulnerable and fragile, revealing the
intricate pattern of scars that every human is heir to and holding tight.
There are more children conceived in December than any other month.

Christmas is given to us as the celebration of the light that shines inside
each one of us, a light born into the world at its darkest hour. In the long,
dark nights at the end of December, we are taught to celebrate the shining of
the divine within us, to celebrate the new year with promises of a new us.

Nighttime has always been a time to go inward, to become intimate with those
around us, to drop the armor we carry in the day and to feel safe in a warm
and loving place. In the darkness, the physical and cultural drop away and we
reveal our spirit. We become vulnerable and exposed as we get closer to a land
of dreams where, as our body lies dormant & sleeping, we live on levels too
often obscured in the work of the day.

As our defenses drop away, we become as the little child -- as anyone who has
watched even the most fearsome person sleep can tell you. We become as the
child whose spirit was breathed into a human body from some other world, and
who, at some point, will return to that other world, between being wrapped in
swaddling clothes.

It is at night those spirits dance, and in the longest nights, they dance
boldly, meeting with others and sharing the spirit we were each born with, a
spirit many have come to call the Christmas Spirit, the child that connects us
all. Others touch the same spirit in other ways and with other names, but
they each honor that magical moment when we are born naked and alive into the
world.

Let's get naked for Christmas. Let's honor that spirit by coming out from
behind the armor of identity & ideas and by paying attention to the gifts we
get from our own spirit, and the gifts of spirit we get from others. It is
the gifts of spirit that really make the holiday time warm and bright, the
gifts of feeling safe, seen and loved in the dark night.

Maybe the reason so many of us get swept up in the hurly-burly of a commercial
Christmas is because we want to stay busy though the darkest nights, want to
avoid the demand to get naked and be with others who are also naked. We live
in fear that our gifts of spirit will not be enough, that, somehow, who we are
when we come naked and loving is not enough. Maybe we have just learned how
to follow the easy path, never really doing the hard work of tending to the
spirit of others or even to our own spirit.

The work of the spirit is not what most of us have learned to do in this
world. We get taken away by the demands of the flesh, and that is why it is
important to have a time when spirit is honored, the spirit that endures from
past to present to future, the spirit that connects us all. With rituals,
including the ritual telling of Dickens's A Christmas Carol, the tale of a man
clad only in a nightshirt whose spirit leads him back to a whole path, we
remember the spirit that threads through our life, from before birth to beyond
death.

Christmas is a time when spirit dances in the night, and the only way to
connect with that graceful dance is to get naked, to drop the expectations,
defenses and rationalizations of everyday life and pay attention to the
spirits of the ones we love, pay attention to the spirit inside of us.

Though music, decoration and all the arts, we build expressions of the sprit
inside of us and offer those expressions to family and friends. As we don our
finery, bare shoulders on holiday dresses, apart from our everyday clothes, we
express the beauty that lies deep inside of us, express what lies hidden under
our everyday clothes and everyday habits. Our creations, including the
creation of self, are attempts to uncover parts of us that we often keep
hidden, attempts to show the divinity of creation that lies in our own heart.

Unfortunately, the process of getting naked can often be a difficult one.
Some people will show unhealed wounds, may strike out at others because they
feel naked and pushed into a corner. Some will act out old patterns just to
keep themselves from revealing the fear and pain which lies between their
armor and their heart. These are the layers of armor we have built to keep
from exposing our spirit, the defenses of a wounded soul which has never done
the hard work of healing. These people fear being revealed, fear revelation
will affirm sharp-tongued shaping of their youth.

This is the challenge of a lifetime, learning how to want what you have been
given, to accept the gifts of sprit that come in our hearts. In this society,
revelation and nakedness never come easy, on an emotional, mental or spiritual
level. Rather, we demand that people be bound by social expectations. To be
naked is to be free of the constraints of culture, free of the fetters that
are designed to bind us to the expectations of others. Even many religions
prefer to keep people tied to ritual & dogma than to encourage the casting off
of worldly concerns and the discovering of the beauty of spirit, even once a
year.

We live our lives as humans, and as humans, we need to be able to function in
the world. For most of human history, the line between the bright world of
the day and the dark world of the night was sharply contrasted, with only a
few small fires and the moon to give light though the night. In this
technological world we have taken light into every hour and in doing that, we
have taken away the dark private places where people are alone with their
spirit and the spirits of those around them. We seem to believe that it is
only the worldly that gets us though and have cast out room for the compassion
that comes when we know we were all born naked, are each just spirit living a
human life.

At this dark time, may we turn out the lights and think of the light that gets
us though the darkness, the light that can only come from the spirit inside of
us. To honor that spirit, we remove the everyday clothes and expectations we
carry, shaking off the dust of the world to reveal in ourselves the glory of
our creation, the beauty of the spirit that dwells inside each of us. As we
remove the gauze from our eyes and look at the beauty of others, a beauty
coming from within and expressed as a unique individual, in order to celebrate
the spirit of Christmas.

Let's each get naked for Christmas and dance a merry bouree, showing our
bright hearts in the darkness and paying rapt attention to the hearts of
others. Let's celebrate the gifts of the soul, the gifts that come to this
world and leave with us, making the dark nights a little brighter.

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