Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grateful for Gift-Wrapping

The season of gift giving has just passed. Hannukah has come and gone, and as the celebration of the holiday has become increasingly influenced by the general American environment, the exchange of gifts, especially among children, has become not only widespread but a newly established obligation in so many Jewish families.
X-Mas too is behind us; the gift-giving mania has morphed into another frenzy of visits to the mall but this time to return unwanted gifts. The season to be jolly has stretched into the post X-Mas week with prospects of once in a lifetime bargains preserving the upbeat mood of our celebrations. Observing my surroundings during the past several weeks I could not help but notice how colorful was the human landscape. Nature's majestic hues of autumn have drifted into a drabness of pre-winter months of bare branches and greying skies, anticipating the arrival of winter's caressing blanket of snow, sheets of white to brighten December's dullness. And then the splurge of color that girds gifts with care and generosity of spirit.
To complete a gift, wrappings of color and beauty are indispensable, packages that please the eyes, that pry open spaces of surprise and excitement.
Whether shades of blue and white of Hannukah, or the greens and reds of X-MAs, all suggest a dimension of the colorful in our celebration of significant moments in our lives. Most likely quickly discarded as children hurriedly tear open lovely layers of color to greedily grasp the coveted inside , and adults likewise are prone to overlook the outside trappings in their eagerness to take hold of objects of love and friendship, for me these images of color and esthetically pleasing decoration bring to mind a metaphor for the feeling of gratitude that encircles and houses the many gifts of our everyday lives. Each day we are showered with gifts; when we touch our feelings of gratitude it is as if we have lovingly wrapped our lives in canopies of care and significance.The awareness of what is ours envelops our hearts with wrappings of thankfulness which brushes our ordinary experience with lively colors of inner joy and a deep sense of gratitude for simply being alive.

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