|There's magic in the light from candles and oil lamps|
For a brief time I also have the luxury of indulging my memory and reliving other Christmas mornings long gone. For the space of an instant, I can touch those who flavored my holidays and who are no longer here to share them. There's more sweetness than bitterness to these moments because they hold enough love to drive away the winter cold and to light my way when darkness descends.
Our memory is capable of granting the most forgiveness of any part of our human nature. That's because while memories play across the screen in our mind, they reside in our hearts. A heart-felt memory weeds out the slights, the day to day petty annoyances that occurred and leave only the brightest, most luminous of experiences behind to be savored as we would savor a particularly fine brandy, or scotch. This is one of the best gifts of Christmas – the ability to ponder the sum of all the holidays that came before, moments that appear like images reflected across the perfect sphere of a glass christmas tree ornament. They are enriched by all the colors and smells of the season.
We know that to live consciously we should stay focused in the present moment and that's true, but Christmas is about more than 'shoulds.' To know where we're going it's important to acknowledge where we came from. When we draw strength and perspective from memories we are using them in the way they were intended. It's important to stay present with those sharing your holiday this year. That's how we fill our memory banks for future withdrawals. Christmas memories are a gift to ourselves. They bridge the present with the past and enable us to cross the boundaries of time and space to touch the hearts of those who've gone before us. They are the best gift we can give ourselves.