A package I ordered from Amazon arrived at my doorstep yesterday afternoon, on the final day of the year.
It is a machine that scans and digitizes old photographic slides and negatives.
This little device, no larger than the size of a softball, may as well be a time machine because it drew me back into a world that only exists as distant memories in my mind.
A lifetime of old, dusty slides and negatives from the pre-digital era have followed me through life in shoe boxes and tattered envelopes. Luckily, I’ve had the good sense to hold onto them all of these years.
Many of these images had not been seen by human eyes in over five decades.
As I placed them into the scanner, long lost family images suddenly flickered onto my computer screen with crisp, vibrant color and focus. I was transported back to my childhood, to a time before life became complicated and dear loved ones passed on much too soon.
In a flash, it’s the first Christmas I am aware of and I am sitting in front of a silvery Christmas tree as white morning light streams through the window.
I see the faces of my three sisters as children in the early Sixties, just as I remember them when I first arrived on this Earth.
I’m being held by my father on an Arizona highway as a toddler. He would pass on when I was four years old, but on this sunny day all is perfect in my little world.
My mother holds me close to her cheek. She is 37 and I’m not yet a year old.
I’m pushed in a stroller by my mother as my sister Beth holds my hand. It must be 1961 in this moment.
After an evening of time travel, I awakened into a new day and a new year.
How time flies.
When I was much younger, I remember adults telling me that the older you get, the faster time seems to fly by. The days, the weeks, the months, the years seem to whisk past faster than when you were younger.
When I first heard this, I figured it was just another odd thing that older people muse about. It didn’t make much sense to me.
Now I’m one of those older people. And it turns out they were right. The longer we live, the faster time seems to accelerate.
It’s nice to have a time machine.
To see those young faces. Some of them we haven’t seen in years.
To see that tiny being you used to be.
To recall the love, the innocence, the joy of life as you first felt it as a child.
That love, that innocence, that joy never goes away. It is the magic of this wondrous journey through life that is truly eternal. It is still there in the recesses of our memory.
It’s still a thought away.
It’s still a breath away.
Inexorably following us through time.
“And so this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, and a new one just begun.” – John Lennon
Christmas is wondrous – for those filled with joy.
Christmas is delightful – for those living in the moment.
Christmas is inconvenient – for those feeling overwhelmed.
Christmas is sad – for those missing loved ones.
Christmas is depressing – for those feeling hopeless.
Christmas is so many things to so many people.
The celebration of holy birth of the Savior
The opportunity to gather with family and friends
The exchange of gifts
Christmas egg nog
Christmas tamales (hey, I live in San Antonio)
But shouldn’t Christmas be more personal?
What if Christmas had an even deeper personal meaning in your life, your story, your journey?
Since the late-Eighties, I have studied the works of the late mythologist Joseph Campbell, who spent his life studying the world’s religions and folklore.
One of his key teachings was that during a holiday such as Christmas, we should internalize the story into our own lives.
Not just celebrate the holiday.
But live it.
Thus, since the Christmas miracle involves the birth of the divine into the flesh and the physical world, why not allow the birth of the divine into our bodies, our hearts, our souls?
On this Christmas
and every day…
May you feel, allow and increase the holiness that already exists inside of you and all around you.
And may you know
That every day
Is a miracle.