On Christmas day, when the rush is finally over and it’s time to exchange gifts, we sometimes get a little peek at what is meant by “on earth as it is in heaven.”
The gift giving of Christmas stirs many thoughts, but for me this year I am considering the magical transformation of ordinary matter, the process by which a tangible material object becomes something that stirs the heart of both the one who gives and the one who receives.
Here are the keys to this alchemy when it actually happens:
1. Thinking and planning done with enthusiasm and care
2. Imagining and seeking something very special
2. Making it personal
3. Presenting it with beauty and good timing
4. Giving it freely with grace, generosity and “no strings attached”
5. Combining mystery, anticipation, surprise and excitement
6. Experiencing the shared joy
Every year, we go through these rituals even though we know very well how much trouble is the shopping, the toting, the wrapping, or the dreaded mailing.
I do believe gift giving and receiving touches places in us as yet unmapped by psychologists and brain scientists. It taps into our deep needs to be understood, valued, helped and affirmed. I am relating this to the learning center of our vision, thinking how much it will, itself, be a wonderful and beautiful gift, waiting to be explored.
Instead of a place of “education” that is compulsory, with dry textbooks, workbooks, and lectures about things that can’t be seen or touched, how about a place where real things and real experiences activate the other elusive nervous system receptor sites?
How about a place where caring thought has produced joy, anticipation, surprise, excitement, mystery; a place where true giving and receiving happen every day and are acts from the heart, based on care, thought, love – – personalized, individualized and beautifully presented; a place where learners may even freely choose the gifts most wanted?
How about a place so inspiring that all who come begin to use their own special inborn “gifts” to transform themselves into special gift-givers so they might offer the world a cure, a new tool, a fresh insight, a novel solution, a new invention, needed skills and a host of created works and wonderfully honed talents?
Yes! We’re not to just pray for heaven on earth, we’re to help it happen.