December 2, 2001

Samuel: I was just crunching and punching and moving. Well, greetings, dears.

Greetings, Samuel.

S: Do you feel good?


S: Better than you had been? Not better?


S: That’s the key. It is. That’s the key. Are you feeling better than you had been? Aye.

December first Sundays are always a lot of fun. More often than not we have story time. We have the baaing sheep and the singing, angelic choirs, and we give stories about any holiday that happens to be wandering around at this time of year. And there are several.


S: That’s right. If I’m not lucky, you’ll start singing “Rudolph.” If you’re lucky, you’ll squeeze it in there somehow. But I’m going to go with a different tack this time.

You’ve got lights everywhere, don’t you? I’ve not missed an event, have I? I don’t see that you’re burning anything up this time, so perhaps it hasn’t actually reached the festival yet, has it?

I’m going to go a different direction. I want you to think about this holiday season. And as you think about it, I want you to come up with two or three things in your mind that are typical to the season. All right. Just think about two or three things. That’s all. Things you think of.


S: Giving is a good one. Aye. It is a part of it, but hold off just a moment. Think about it. Hold off a moment. Everybody able to come up with at least that many? Good. Giving was one.


S: Parties. Ooh, nice. Parties. Parties. More than the rest of the year? Nice.

Religious services.

S: Religious services of all sorts, actually, not only because you’re coming to the end of your calendar year, but because it’s also a time in which there are several religious holidays, sacred days, in that calendar. Yes.

Family. That’s another part of it. Very nice.

Sharing traditional foods. Foods that they may only eat at that time of the year.

S: Sharing traditional foods. I’m going to make that two things. Sharing tradition, of which foods can be one of them. Anybody got traditional food? Something that means Christmas to you with food.

I’ve been making the same cookies every year for almost thirty years for my kids.

S: Oh, they must be pretty nasty by now. Same cookies—thirty years! Do the children now say, “I don’t want those, Mum.”

No, they think it means Christmas when the cookies come out.

S: Aye. Not the same cookies though. Right?

All right so cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies. Yes. All right. Yes. Cookies. Good. What else?


S: Again.


S: Stolen cookies?

Stollen. German.

S: Your Christmas was stolen.

The Grinch.

It’s a kind of bread.

S: Bread.

German Christmas bread.

S: Stollen.


S: Good. Yes. All right, we’ve got cookies and bread.

Ever since I was a child, Christmas to me is the light and the darkness. The darkness comes sooner, and everybody’s houses are lit up, and there’s lights in the windows and there’s lights on the houses, and there’s lights in their homes, and at night coming out and seeing the tree lit up, it’s just always reminded me of that.

S: So special decorations go with that. Let’s hold that one for just a moment. Any more have special foods that you think of as the holiday? Frank.


S: Eggnog.

Plum pudding.

My grandmother would always make an oyster gratin.

Scalloped oysters.

S: And you eat all these things, don’t you? Stolen cookies and little sea creatures. That’s good though.


S: Fruitcake. That you serve to fruitcakes?

A lot of times you get it as a gift or you give it as a gift.

S: Fruitcake. Plum pudding.

Mulled cider.

S: Mulled cider. Why would you mull it?

Maybe it’s from Mull. I don’t know what the name means.

You just heat it.

S: Heated cider.

Heated with spices.

S: Young apple cider.

And then once you move beyond the festive foods that are pretty unique to the occasion, you then have such things as holiday decorations that are very special. Any of you have holiday decorations that have moved through your families? Had them for years and years. They’re meaningful to you. Any of you have some that are your own tradition that you are beginning, that begins with you, either because you’ve not ever again found anything else you wanted or because you wanted to keep it, and you treasure and take care of it? Sure. Sure.

What else about the holidays?

It’s always the time when the ballet “The Sugar Plum Fairy” is presented. It’s a story, a Christmas ballet.

S: Special entertainments. A Christmas ballet, for instance. And there are other entertainments as well, because music is a major part of all sacred events. You know that, don’t you? Of all of them, such as taking your shower in the morning, driving along the road. And the ballet is one of them. What else shows up as entertainment?


S: Caroling. Caroling.

Church services.

With choirs.

S: Choirs that sing and give special presentations of music that is traditional to the season. Correct? Now I realize this is a great risk: why don’t you tell me a few of those songs that are traditional to the season.

Well, I’m going to go on the classical way. Handel’s Messiah.

S: Thank you very much.

Also the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors.

S: Ah yes, we had good fun with that one once.

Aside from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Oh, Holy Night” or “Silent Night.”

S: Aye. And what else about this time?

We often say about it being a time of peace on Earth, good will towards men.

S: Oh, don’t you wish.

That’s one of the things that traditionally . . . there’s even songs that speak to that. It’s a time of high hopes, especially children, even children who really may not have . . . the family may not have money, but there’s a hope that there’ll be something under that tree for them. So that what it brings back to me is just hope.

S: Aye. Hope. And you also mentioned a tree, because that’s also a part of the celebration, and that’s more or less the guardian of a whole lot of that hope for some. Trees often figure in. You have a Christmas tree, but for the other holidays that are involved within this time of year, they do not necessarily require that you take down a tree to enjoy it. So, for the Christmas version of it, yes. Yes. Absolutely.

Well, Mary mentioned lights, but you have lights with all those holidays. You have the Hanukkah and Kwanza, all have candles with lights.

S: Good. Good. Light is a very important aspect of all of the celebrations.

Another thing you have, there is an exchanging of cards, which involve communicating with people that you may not even talk to or visit with except this particular time of the year.

S: Do many of you have exchanges of greetings with those whom you do not necessarily have much contact with through the rest of the year at this time? And do you keep that communication going because you are obligated and it’s Christmas?

Not obligated.

S: Why do you do it?

Because I like to stay in touch.

S: Good. Yes. Because it’s a means of making a touch that keeps a connection going, whether it’s a very strong connection for not. It just keeps it going. It’s an opportunity, a good excuse if you will, to put out some love and joy and good feelings.

Anything more before I get going with where I’m headed here.

It’s also a time that focuses on charity. That’s another type of giving. Instead of just only giving to people you know, obviously the Salvation Army has their buckets, and there’s a lot of fund-raising kind of things that happen—Toys for Tots and different things. People feel more charitable and give even to people they don’t know at times like this, this time of year.

S: And do you think that will be so even . . . [stops to look down at clothing ]

They’re trousers.

S: They are? All right. Good. Well, I was getting ready to reach up and feel, but I thought that might not be very polite. Caught myself, I did. Well, you know, there’s . . . well, isn’t that what you’d do if you weren’t sure what you had on? You’d just start feeling to see. And that’s why.

Where were you?

S: An opportunity . . . yes, where was I? An opportunity for giving more. There is a spirit of giving about this, giving not even to somebody you know, although that is also a part of it. Charitable giving—interestingly enough—is also a tenet of all of the sacred holidays at this time of year. Not giving to those around you, even though that may be a part of it, but giving where you see there is a need is very much a part of this holiday. Yes. Frank?

There’s some negative traditions.

S: No!

I mean there’s a lot of stress associated with it, there’s a lot of tension. For a lot of people it’s a very high time for depression. And it’s a time when there’s a lot of negative emotions and negative feelings for a lot of people, because of all the activities, all the expectations. And in a society that is so materially oriented like ours, and family oriented tradition-wise, there’s a lot of people without healthily functioning families, a lot of people without the financial resources to enjoy it the way they think they should be able to, or to have their family enjoy it the way they think they should. So there’s a lot of people not able to live up to the expectations that they have, and so it causes a hardship for them.

S: That’s very well stated, Frank, very well stated.

Expectation tends to be a means of dampening the holiday celebrations, tends to be a doorway to disappointment and difficulty that often shows up where there is  notlast

a strong bond to work things through. That’s true. That is also something that is, unfortunately, a part of this particular season. Sometimes.

One of the things that Frank mentioned is a sense of obligation, rather than joy, in doing something. Feeling that you must do it “because.” Now, I’ve taken that just a step farther to make my point. Can any of you relate to that? That was fast.

Along with that obligation, in the financial, the economic focus is, of course, that the day after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas season is the biggest shopping day of the year. There’s stress, there’s incredible traffic, and people—sellers—are out with so-called bargains, but many people feel like they have to even maybe run up charge accounts or are obligated to buy more than they really can handle, or otherwise do because it’s Christmas or because of the expectation that they won’t have given enough, or comparing themselves to others.

S: Have any of you ever done that? Can you relate to that as well? I want to remind you that you don’t do anything you don’t want to. Ouch. You don’t do anything you don’t want to. Even when you grumblingly buy a gift for your great aunt that you only see every ten years, who expects more out of you than you can afford when you give a present to that person who does not appreciate it anyway, you are doing it because you want to.

Now, it may be that what you’re wanting is to ensure that you’re not looked poorly upon in the family. But you’re doing it because you want to. It may be that you need to look at your motivations and the reality of your expectations, but you’re only ever doing what you want to. Be careful with that one, because more often than not the negative expectations that drag you through the holidays are there because of you. Not there because somebody has asked it of you.

If a friend came up to you and said, “I love you so much. I love you every day of the year. We are not this year going to be giving out our usual gifts, and I wanted to let you know,” would you think less of them for that. However, you expect that they think less of you if that’s coming from you, is that it? Don’t think much of them, do you? Aye.

In our family, we’ve done that. We’ve put out that word to family members, and they’ve ignored it and sent us lists of what we’re supposed to get them for holidays and whatever. So it just seems . . . I mean it’s been going on for about ten years.

S: And do you always give them what it is they want anyway?


S: Do you say I’m not going to do this and do something anyway?

Yes. They don’t like it.

S: So what you’re really saying to them is, “We’re going to do it our way, and if you insist that we must give you something, we’re not going to give you something you want.”

We’re saying we don’t want you to give stuff to us. We will give stuff to you, because we don’t want to be . . . we’re not doing this because we’re not generous people, but we don’t want to be part of that so you don’t need to give anything to us. So we’re doing it that way, but we’re not doing it the other way. You know, we’re kind of following the directions to give to them, but we don’t want them to give stuff to us. Does that make any sense? And they ignore it. And so when we try to keep putting that out there, it just seems like we’re grumps, and so they ignore it.

S: I’m not sure I understand the problem here. You say, “Don’t give us gifts, we have so much. Please don’t.” and they do anyway.

Right. Well, it’s a problem.

S: It’s a control issue.


S: All right, now I want you to take a good deep breath, and we’re going to change gears just a bit, because, as ever, what it is I want to speak to you about is not necessarily the traditional version of how you work through this holiday time. I recognize in all that is being shared amongst one another that this is a time in which tradition figures strongly in how you experience these days, and again that part of that tradition can create stress and difficulty. That tradition, or the need to adhere to it even if it does not fit with your life right now, can create situations that bring about difficulty. I understand that. I’m not going there.

Where I am going is: this is a season based on giving. And what you experience through the holidays—especially what you experience in the first holiday season of 5:3:2 world—what you experience during these holidays is very much a means by which you can see the map of your life. Give yourself the opportunity this year to see more than just Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Festival of Lights. Allow yourself to see them as an expression of yourself in these holidays.

As is also the case in nearly all sacred events, there are several things that are always found. One of them is food. One of them is music. And one of them a giving, usually to do with an exchange. All three of those events will be found in sacred events from the beginning of time. Really. Why? Think about those three things for a moment. A sharing of food. Sound. And giving. All three of those can represent sharing oneself. None of them needs to have to do with spending money. And they can represent the creation of the deepest, most touching holiday that you can imagine. That’s what I want to talk to you about. Getting back to basics, starting over, if you will, to bring back what the season is about to help you be remembering.

One of the things that we discussed was the sharing of food, and there were many traditions in that food. People from different origins had different foods that went with it. What is it about food?

It’s good.

S: It’s good, yes. It is. It’s good. If you’re lucky.

There’s a tradition that when you share food, you come to the table in peace.

S: Yes.

You come in communion and in peace to share.

S: Hospitality. The opening of your doors is a symbolic reference to the opening of your heart. In days in which you were a more warrior-like people—yesterday—in days of old, if you will—such an interesting concept, isn’t it, days of old?—sharing food represented a compact, a covenant, if you will. Tell me about famous food events that you can think of.

The Last Supper.

S: Right there. The Last Supper. What was the Last Supper? Hot dogs.

Bread and wine.

S: That may have been what was a part of the Last Supper, but what’s the idea there? What’s the Last Supper?

It was a communion of Christ and the disciples, where they thought that this was the last time in form that he would be with them.

S: There it is. It was a meeting of Jesus the Christ and his disciples, followers, a few of the followers, together celebrating what they believed would . . . well, what Jesus believed would be the last meal that he would share with them. Now, the disciples, you know, they did not know that. They were just blissfully ignorant about the whole thing, partying through the whole dinner, and the next thing you know, the gardia comes. Arrests them all.

The Last Supper. A major coming together to share love before an important event. What’s another famous meal?

This is pretty strange, but in our society at least that believes in executing people, there’s always a last meal before a person’s put to death.

S: Ah, surely because it goes back to those strong Christian roots and that last supper. Do you think? Maybe not. We’re about to do something really mean to you, so first let us do something nice. All right. That’s also something that you’ve kept in your heritage.

Any other meals like that?

A rehearsal dinner before a wedding.

S: Good. Good. Good. Rehearsal dinners before a large wedding celebration. In some cultures the dinners go on for a week, days and days. And the celebration of the marriage itself is just a small break before the party gets going again. Sure. Yes. There it is.

I heard another one over here.

Birthday meals.

S: Birthday dinners. You have birthday dinners, do you? And there is special food that goes in these special occasions? Yes? You have . . .

Bar mitzvah energy.

S: You have birthday cakes. Bar mitzvahs. Yes. Tell me.

Well, in the Jewish tradition the young male, as he’s coming of age, they have a celebration called the bar mitzvah where they have dancing, they have dinner, they have . . . to celebrate.

S: Ideally, it is a coming together of all of the relatives and the close friends for the boy, which is the bar and the female is a bat. And you celebrate the closeness of all by sharing food. Food has always been a big part of it. In your society, the tradition holds that when you open your door, you’re opening your heart. You are creating a compact, a compact which says, While we are sharing this, there will be peace amongst us. It would be very nice this year if you would just open your doors and feed the whole world. All right? It would help.

There is a magic—yes, I said that word—there is a magic that has to do with the giving of that which sustains life. In your society, woman has been considered a figure of great mystery and magic, because from her body would spring forth life. Now, as a result of that, as you moved into a patriarchal system, that became the very reason to subjugate women, because that facility of creating life, that magical ability, could not be transferred into the masculine system of governing. And, as a result, only by subjugating the magic and making it not important would it be possible to have a patriarchal system instead of a matriarchal one.

In your society, who is usually the one who prepares that which provides physical sustenance? Not always, but generally.

The woman.

The mother.

S: Right. Where there is a will, there is a way. Yes? A means of saying to another, I care enough about you to see your life continue. I give you this that you might live. That is what is said in the sharing of food.

Does it require large, elaborate feasts for that to be sustaining?


S: Are cookies and stolen bread—it’s a new tradition for me, I like it—are they able to sustain life?



S: You shut yourself up in a dark room with nothing but a box of cookies and it will sustain your life. Even if they’re stolen, that’s right. You understand my point? A major part of this holiday, beyond the hoopla of inviting every person in your family and providing the most expensive meal they’ve ever had that makes you crazy so that you are busy preparing weeks ahead of time, the idea of sharing food stands at the foundation of one of the ultimate acts of giving that this holiday represents. Share your food. Share your heart. Open a door to peace.

You can do that. You can do that symbolically many ways during this holiday season. Can you think of a few symbolic ways you can go around sharing food, providing sustenance?

Making a special batch of cookies, or whatever, and then going around to your neighbors.

S: Perfect. Perfect. Lovely. Lovely. Yes.

I see it as a sustaining of the Light by just giving love wherever we can. It might be just saying, “Happy holidays to you!” to remind someone that it is.

S: All right. But I am using food as the cue for it.

Sometimes you can make presents of food and give that.

S: All right.

Because you have made it yourself.

S: That’s a lovely idea. What do you do, for instance . . . let’s use those cookie ideas. What if you just wrapped up single cookies and gave them to the cashier at the grocery store, and the person going by the front yard walking the dog—well, in this day and age, that might be a bit risky, mightn’t it? Maybe you should just give pre-wrapped Ding Dongs. Aye, just put a little bow on it here. Or those little candy hooks.


S: Hooks.

Candy canes.

S: Those. That means you turn them around the other way, doesn’t it? They go this way, not this way. All right. Give those out. That’s safe looking. There you go. Sharing food. Yes.

At the office there is a break room, and, you know, someone could take a plate of food.

S: Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Yes.

Hard-working mothers or someone who is having a difficult time in their family, make up a casserole or a pot of soup that can go in the freezer for them to take out on one of those busy days.

S: Lovely, lovely. Quite a gift. Yes. Yes.

You could probably help some of the organizations feed the homeless.

S: Go and volunteer at one of the organizations that put out food and give food to the homeless, who put baskets of it together, or who create buffet lines from which to serve. Excellent. Frank.

You can make sure you’re feeding the birds and some of the wild creatures.

S: Remember the creatures, yes. Yes. Stolen bread is very appreciated by the birds, for instance. Yes. Yes. These are excellent ideas.

Remember the basis of it is, you create a piece of ancient magic when you share food. Symbolically use that energy. Symbolically, I say, because you’re not opening your door to your enemy and saying, “I lay down my sword while you are here, and we will share as long as you are in my place.” Hand over the . . .

Candy cane.

S: Yes, candy cane—candy cane?—as your way of saying, “Peace to you. Love to you.” Seek ways to reestablish into this world the ancient recognitions in a new way. Take the old holiday and its traditions and make it new, infused with the magic of this time and of which you are a part.

Food is a very major part of it. So is sound and song. All right. Just to get it over with, one of the most powerful ways that you can use your voice, right now, at this time is through toning. The star weaving and the toning balance each other, and they make changes in you faster than anything else. If you don’t know about the toning, talk to some people here. They can give you the information, and there are several opportunities a week to come and do it. If nothing else, you are amazed at how good you feel from it, needless to say the sort of camaraderie that comes about from it. That is a very high frequency function of sound, and very specifically oriented toward intent, thought, word and deed, expressing at higher levels through your voice, but there are many other ways during this season in which that’s very acceptable.

One of them, it was mentioned earlier, is caroling, where you sing songs that bring smiles and joy. If you have a lousy voice and you cannot carry a tune in a bucket, is it still all right to carol?


S: Yes. This is the chance! For some of you the only one! Take advantage of it. Aye.

Sometimes you can also extend the caroling. It used to be going around to the neighborhood. I used to love doing that. But people do it and go to a hospital or the children’s hospital.

S: Inflict yourself on the ill. They cannot stop you. It’s right.

They cannot get away.

S: They won’t run. The dog runs, they won’t. Aye. Why is it that song is a gift? Why is it that the tradition is you go door to door and sing to your neighbors? You go to hospitals and retirement communities, and . . . why?

It’s another form of communion.

S: Yes.

Because people join in.

S: Yes. It’s not a form of communion when you are operatically singing the song nobody else knows. That’s a performance. That’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about belting out the song everybody knows—here it comes—for instance . . .

[Audience sings] “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

S: You see? That was one. And with just one person starting it, many of you knew immediately what song was coming up there, and you just kicked right in. And look at the smiles it brought about.

It’s really hard to frown and sing.

S: It’s hard to frown and sing those songs. Yes, it is.

Two Christmases ago, I went with Cindy. She took her guitar, and her daughter took her guitar, and we went to a homeless shelter. It was my first experience at such a thing, and it took all night, but they finally crept from their beds and joined us to sing. And it was just a fascinating experience.

S: And perhaps it was out of self-defense. They won’t leave if we don’t come sing a song with them.

I don’t do very well, but Cindy and her daughter do.

S: Indeed. Indeed. Singing provides an opportunity for you to give in a way that you see the result, and it’s one of those gifts of the season that you give yourself, which has a positive effect around you, which is what song always does. That is why it has been used to start the battle and to start the peace. Why it has been used as an entertainment when sharing food. I have opened my heart, I will give of my voice, my mind. Many recognized in older cultures that your voice carried the sound of your soul. The eyes would look to the soul, the voice carried the sound of the soul. And I would tell you, that’s true, because your voice has power.

In the beginning was what?

The Word.

S: The Word. The Sound. Sounds of joy. Sounds of joy. What are joyous sounds?


S: Laughter. Yes. Yes. Laughter, which is to say, in this symbolic way that we are discussing—using the old to create traditions of power for the new—telling a good joke could have as much effect as singing a good song, because you’re doing something out of pleasure that brings joy around you. Yes, laughter is a very powerful energy. What else? The sounds of joy.

How about “I love you”? Well said from the right person, that’s very touching, isn’t it? Now, if a stranger says that to you, you start backing off and you don’t take their cookies. Do not give them, that’s right. However, does it not please you when somebody in your family says that to you? Be first. Beat them to it. Beat them to it.

And, if your family is not limited to those with whom you share blood and spit, and has also opened up to those with whom you share your heart, tell them. Beat them to it. Use your voice to provide the bond of love. The road on which love can pass, when you’ve opened the doors to your heart.

Sing. Tell jokes. Say.

You can also offer a toast when you are celebrating with them. You know, spirits of different kinds.

S: That’s what we’ll be doing at the Festival of Lights. You’ll be celebrating with spirits. You mean the kind you drink, yes? Aye. Aye. Indeed, offering a toast, a few words of joy and delight, of recognizing others. It’s a pulling together of group intent by using the power of your thoughts translated into your words.

When you say to somebody, “Thank you for feeding my friends with your joyous heart and generous hands,” you have sung to her. And it sounded a lot better than Rudolph. At least your version of Rudolph. Expressing your gratitude is a means of expressing your love, and it’s the safe one to the people who might walk off the other edge of the sidewalk if you tell them you love them. It’s the I love you that you can give to the meeder reader. Meeder reader?

Meter reader.

S: Sounds like that should be the cantor, though, don’t you think? Meter reader. [Someone in the audience groans.] Thank you, dear. Thank you.

Good one.

S: Aye, this bunch of Christian heathens in here. Expressing your gratitude. Using your voice to bring joy, can express itself in many different ways during this season. Seek ways to do that. Sing. Not sing so that only you can hear under your voice, not perform singing songs nobody else knows. Sing the songs everybody knows that bring a smile. Go down the aisle singing “Jingle bells, jingle bells.” Surely there are some that everyone knows that might have a bit more meaning than some of these, but do it for the purpose of counting the smiles. Express gratitude. Express love.

As a toast—and I’m going to be turning around what that toast is to make it something that’s workable within any sort of situation—remember that the idea is to take the attention of the group, to focus on a singular intent that the power of that intent can be expressed into a focused point. All right. You can do that exactly the way I just did, in front of others saying, Thank you. By saying, “Tess it is so good to see you here, love. I’ve missed you so much. I’m glad you’re here. Thank you.” You see? Everybody turns and looks, and there it is. There really was something more that went with that.

Use your voice, give it, because sharing food opens the door to your heart, your voice opens the door to your soul. Use it.

And then there is the gifting that goes on. You share the food. You sing songs. You gift. You give. I want you first to remember this very important point—it’s very easy to forget it: It’s a lot harder to receive. It’s a lot harder to receive. It’s easy to give. It’s easy to give. It’s harder to receive. Not stuff. That’s not true with stuff. It’s not true with stuff. Ask any five-year-old that believes in Christmas. Is it hard to receive? No, not at all. It’s not hard to receive stuff.

It is hard to receive everything that really matters to you. It’s hard to receive love, generosity, friendship. It’s often hard to overcome the ingrained belief that you’re not enough, they’re better. They know what you don’t. If they knew you like you knew you, they would not care for you like you don’t care for you.

During the holiday season, it’s so important that you remember that receiving is the hard part. And it’s very important to allow yourself to pay attention to receiving. Receiving is the gift of allowing another to give. When you have a hard time receiving, you’re not letting the other give, which is to say you’re trying to control them. This may be the only time of the year that they can be generous in their own way.

Now I’m going to switch that around out of that to giving to the principle. And for those of you who just went to school, stop it. That’s not what I was saying. Generosity is ultimately what every one of the sacred holidays is about. Generosity of spirit is the greatest gift you can give. When you move from being the delightfully center-of-the-world five-year old—although some of you are greedy and the center-of-the-world fifty-year-olds—when you move away from being the greedy, five-year-old and you become the adult, and you become the one who gives to that five-year-old and you fall into the point that you are in life right now, every one of you in here, every one of you in here could say, “I don’t need anything.” Oh, there’s lots of stuff you might want, but unlike many in this world it would be hard to look around you and say, “I need this.”

But mainly for you the reason that that’s true is not because you have the best cars and the biggest houses and the most electrical appliances—or whatever else might be on the lists these days. For most of you the reason you don’t need anything is that the only thing that feeds you, the only thing that sings to you, the only thing you really want, the only thing, only thing, you can truly give is love.

When you have come here into this world to be a part of bringing about a greater change for greater good, the only thing that satisfies you is love, an act of love. And if you were to translate that, that sort of giving, that sort of generosity, a generous spirit, a generous heart, into this season, what might you do?

Back to the cookies.

S: Good.

The stolen cookies. I always saw those cookies as an important thing to give to my kids, and I used to knock myself out making those cookies, and get tired and cranky, but, boy, they went anywhere in the world the kids were. And this year I wrote to my children and said, “You know, what I’m going to do is I’m going to find the same-shaped cookie cutters that I always use for each one of you, and I’m going to send you the recipes. And I want you to make them for yourselves, because . . . well, for one thing, I’m still here to help you if you mess up, you know, and they don’t turn out the way you thought they should. But the other thing is that it’s a gift to me, too, because it’s a gift of time this year that I need and want.

S: Paula, that is a very powerful statement you have just made. It’s very wise. Good. It’s a gift in many ways, actually.

Gifts of time. Gifts of knowledge. It’s so much easier to give that great aunt dusting powder, which is sort of an interesting thought, isn’t it? You dust to get rid of the dust powder, right? Instead of dusting powder, to give time together. Sit and talk. All right, my gift to you this year is I’m going to sit and talk with you once a week. Oh, thanks.

I’d rather have the dusting powder.

S: Because I can put it away. And my point simply is that if you don’t have the connection, that’s not a good one. If you don’t know what someone wants, maybe it means you don’t have a connection. If you don’t know what someone wants, maybe you need to give them you, your effort, instead of some thing to fill up that space. If you’re going to allow yourself to get tied up in knots looking for things to fit people you don’t know, you’ve got the whole purpose of the holiday twisted.

This is a holiday about sharing love. It’s based on the three great anchors of spiritual power, of societal power, and magical power. Sharing food. Sharing sound or song. And sharing self.

The gifts are only meant to be symbolic representations of those. So go back to the basics. See what you can do to give the real stuff. Seek ways. All right, you have lots of obligations that at this time you cannot just let everybody know everything’s going to be different this year. Let them know now that next year it’s going to be different, but find ways in which you can instill into that which you do and that which you give a sharing of your heart, a sharing of your spirit and the generosity that creates a bond and allows the continuation of those first two sharings.

This is a time of magic in your world. It is a time of magic in your world. And yet it is so easy to get caught up into obligation and stress and expectation that the hope, the joy, the laughter, the song, the love fades away.

Right now, your world is in a desperate time, isn’t it? Right now, your world is truly ready for the meaning that the oldest traditions provide, and this is a time in which you can sneak them in acceptably, in which you can share magic that changes lives in a way that’s acceptable. Don’t miss this opportunity. What you do through these next three weeks is going to have a whole lot to do with how you are able to manage the work we’re going to do at the Festival of Lights.

Seek ways to give. Not out of your pocketbook, out of your heart. Not out of obligation, out of your spirit. Allow yourself to give and receive bonds of love. Be a part of the miracle. It is coming.

Happy trails. Glochanumora.