The Leavening

An extraordinary, miraculous effect occurs as one calendar year begins preparing an exit and the next one prepares for birth.  There’s a lightening of mood.  Folks who have spent the whole year burdened by their responsibilities become aware of possibilities and alternatives previously unnoticed.  Hope glows like a log in midwinter.  In Western civilization it’s called the Christmas spirit, but it also affects people who don’t celebrate Christmas, and it happens in places that don’t have cold winters.  It’s a cyclical force causing our spirits to rise, to transform ourselves for the better.  This leavening ingredient lies napping within us always.  Something about the way we ritualize time’s passage helps wake it up.

No matter what belief system you follow, and I include ethical behavior as equal to any religion, there are easy ways to open your spirit to new possibilities.  One of my favorites is to enjoy whatever there is to enjoy by focusing on novel seasonal sensory experiences.  Practice seeing the bright colors, lights and decorations the way children see them.  Ooo…pretty!  Smell the cooking.  Surround yourself with song.  I watch a lot of classic holiday-themed movies and programs on TV, because it helps me remember.  These things are gifts we can give ourselves that cost little, yet have value.

I wrote an article last year about the history of Christmas symbolism called “How to Own Christmas”.  I guess it hit the spot, because it’s been getting a lot of hits lately.  No need to re-print it, but if you want to re-visit it, here’s the link:

Though you can’t see me, I want you to know I’m smiling.  When you smile back, we have exchanged a greater gift than can be found in any store or catalogue.


Filed under Communications, Metaphysics, symbolism

16 responses to “The Leavening

  1. “…If you share the best of who you are with others, they will give the same gift back to you. It doesn’t cost a penny, and it’s priceless…”


  2. I love to read, and lately I’ve been reading an historical novel set in Ireland during the Great Potato Famine. I’ve also been studying a bit about the Kaballah. In one of these sources, I recently came across “leavening” as a metaphor for … um… upliftment of the spirit, something like that. It’s a great image… thanks for your post.

  3. Just read the other post for the first time. Wonderful. I especially like:

    The common truth shared with us by Jesus, Scrooge and the Grinch is that being generous in spirit transforms the experience of living. That’s what’s in Santa’s sack, underneath the boxes. If you share the best of who you are with others, they will give the same gift back to you. It doesn’t cost a penny, and it’s priceless.

    As k8edid said, amen to that!

    • I’m happy you enjoyed it, Debbie. Here’s another version of the same sentiment, stated singably:

      “And love can come to everyone.
      The best things in life are free.”
      (DeSylva / Brown / Henderson)

  4. Now that’s what I call holiday cheer!

  5. Margie

    “Some of the most wonderful things have to be believed to be seen. Like flying reindeer and angels. Like peace on earth, goodwill, hope, and joy. Real because they can be imagined into being. Christmas is not a date on a calendar but a state of mind.” Robert Fulghum

  6. I truly believe that was the best Christmas-related post I’ve ever read.

    That being said, there’s nothing in the world I want more for Christmas this year than “Big Loo”.

  7. Well, I play free Internet Christmas songs for memories and the spirit of the season. It’s snowing gently but steadily right now…which means I can’t bike. So one can only hope it doesn’t get too cold where we are.

    I don’t have a TV where I am right now. Other years it’s watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby, etc. Or Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim. A great classic.

    Merry Christmas, Mikey and wifey. Our Christmas blog post is in this link:

    • Thanks, and the same to you and yours, Jean! iTunes radio is a great way to play those songs. There are channels devoted entirely to holiday music.

      Your post of parodies was highly amusing! Laughter is a welcome guest at all my holidays.

  8. How lovely. Reading this post, especially the last part, has relaxed my thoughts somewhat. And as for Christmas films, Elf is always a joy to watch. It isn’t Christmas for me without Elf!
    Thanks for the great post Mikey, and Happy Christmas! 🙂

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