Now that Thanksgiving has been celebrated, but not forgotten (for I want to keep that gratitude in my heart every day), it is, for me, joyously, all Christmas, all the time! But I like to do it slowly.
A few years ago I made toffee for the first time. It is a wonderful lesson in patience, this slow simmering, this delicate balance of heat, but not too much… wait, watch, simmer, bubble, not yet, stir, easy now… maybe now… gently pour… That’s the way I like to decorate — in a slow, sweet, so deliciously sweet, simmer.
Yesterday I put out my favorite book — Maya Angelou’s Amazing Peace. She wrote the poem in 2005 for the lighting of the White House Christmas tree, but it has, perhaps, never been more relevant, this call for Peace. For peace, she says is not just “the absence of war.But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.”
I know some people worry, oh, we shouldn’t say Merry Christmas. People have different faiths. Different practices. But never has it been more beautifully explained than in this poem. She welcomes all people:
“We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.”
A halting of hate. What could be more magical than that? I don’t know if you celebrate Christmas, but this is what I want to celebrate with you. This joy. This hope. This peace. If you are one to decorate, I encourage you to place this book, front and center. If you like to keep it simple, then I encourage you to wear these words on your heart,
“Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.”
What an amazing time of year! An amazing opportunity for growth, even on the coldest of winter days. Warm yourself in the practice of peace. The slow, sweet simmer, of all that we can be.