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Christmas Time

At this very moment, you might still be running through the shops looking for the last of Christmas presents or one more ingredient for the perfect dinner. Your head could be full of thoughts and your heart full of worries. You may be questioning everything: the gifts you want for yourself and others, the cloths you plan to wear, the decorations on the Christmas tree, the people you want or don’t want at the Christmas table. And, in recent years, this list of worries can also be supplemented by fears of financial shortage, illness or war.

Yet, at the same time, you are bombarded with images, which commercials and Hollywood movies bring year after year, making your expectations exceptionally high and often unattainable. Maybe you wish snow even though you live in a climate where it never snows, you want to hear Christmas carols on your doorstep, even though this was never part of your cultural tradition, you want a huge tree although your apartment ceiling is low, or you want to buy presents that are far beyond your financial means.

Because of this, Christmas often turns into the production of your own mind movie in which you are the only star and where all the scenes and all supporting roles are there to fulfil the perfection of your dream. But in the end, you will have to face reality that may contradict your wishes and expectations. The reality that may confront you with a modest Christmas tree, poorly chosen or underappreciated gifts, with crying children, a partner who cannot find the right words, or with overly critical parents.

Amidst the inner chaos that results from shattered expectations, awakened emotions can overwhelm you and cause irritation, disappointment, depression, or feelings of being unloved and lonely. This will subtly undermine your sacred base and will increase inner turmoil, causing you to say unkind words, behave impolitely, or make wrong decisions.

Commercials try to convince you that all such turmoil and dissatisfaction will disappear with the purchase of an extra thing, which will surely get you closer to your perfect Christmas dream. In fact, however, this dream is an illusion instilled in you by the industry, which profits on your desires, and which is trying to convince you that the moon's reflection on the water's surface is in fact the moon itself. But reality will always remind you that such promises are destined to be broken and can never lead to your ultimate fulfilment.

Does that mean that you should stop celebrating Christmas? Not at all!

You just have to remember what the real purpose of this day is and also realize that the beauty of the Christmas atmosphere and the most expensive gifts under the Christmas tree, no matter how pleasing to the eye and heart, are just short-lived. But exactly the impermanence of that pleasure can also teach you that perfection is just an illusion. Yet, when your mind is peaceful enough to allow for an undistorted reflection of all what is in and around you and when your heart opens and welcomes every moment, every encounter, and every word with compassion and sincerity, everything will feel perfect.

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