by Samantha Wilde
Many Christmases, as a child, I received, as many others did, gifts I did not particularly want. I invariably had one relative who would gift me a child's worst nightmare, something utilitarian and boring, like a lamp. (Some would say, "like a book," but in my family there really is no greater gift.) As a child, I found it bewildering. I clearly asked for what I wanted. I never gave vague requests. Just where in the words "Barbie Dream House," did she come up with "athletic socks?"
The same unusual scenario occurs in my adult spiritual life. Here I am, calling out for something very specific, "More time for myself, please!" or "Let this one be a bestseller!" or "Please inspire my husband to do all the dishes," and yet, I am getting completely different gifts from the universe, for example, terribly un-childlike presents, like patience and fortitude and forgiveness.
Strange Gifts, some writings on love, is a gathering of some of my words about love, faith, meaning, God, life, death, and hope written over the course of twelve years during the time I have been a minister.
But before you run screaming from the room with grim memories of your own childhood religion, let me assure you that my practice is entirely expansive, inclusive, encompassing, and based on my understanding of God as Love. I write outside of religion but inside of believing. I write remembering and standing in solidarity with people who don't or cannot believe, and in boldness with people who do.
I'll tell you, a writer may write for herself, or she may think that she writes because she needs to, but the real gift is to have a reader.
At the end of my Strange Gifts article in my collection, I wrote: May our hearts be open to the open doors in our lives, to the gifts we are given that can change us and lead us more completely into communion with Goodness. May you find that the great Santa of Love know you better than you think, better than you know yourself. I won't wish for you to be blessed this season, but to realize the blessings that already abound. Let's join together in looking for them; fling wide the new door!
I hope you get many strange and wonderful gifts this holiday time.
And if you would like one of them to be a copy of Strange Gifts, which is (unlike a boring lamp) a perfect little gift, you can buy it on my website (and only on my website), you can even ask for it to be wrapped. Maybe it will open a new door for someone.
Find out about Sam on her Reverend Sam Wilde website, her author site, listen to her hip and inspiring messages on her weekly radio show, You Are Loved, and like her on Facebook because she really likes to be liked.
Sam is the author of I'll Take What She Has and This Little Mommy Stayed Home. She is a graduate of Smith College, Yale Divinity School, the New Seminary and the Kripalu School of Yoga. She has been an ordained minister for more than a decade, serving various populations with her central message that God's love (by whatever name you call it) is for everyone. She is an at-home mother of three small children, a yoga teacher, and the daughter of novelist Nancy Thayer.