A Sacred Christmas in the Mojave Desert
Living fifty miles from any semblance of a town and a hundred miles from any shopping mall, and having very little money to spend on presents, the Jaspers created their own holiday traditions far removed from those of modern society.
A glimpse of Christmas at the Jaspers:
Having no family of his own, Kahetay, Ani’s Navajo shaman godfather, spends every Christmas with the Jaspers and brings to their holiday a sense of reverence they cherish.
It is called the Circle of Light Ceremony.
At midnight on Christmas Eve, the family gathers in a circle, sitting cross-legged on the floor, each with an unlit candle. The room is dim, lit only by the warm glow of the tree lights. There are no presents under the tree, just four ornately embellished boxes with slits at the top just large enough for folded pieces of paper to enter.
Kahetay lights the first candle and says, “With this flame I heal the wounded hearts of the world.” He then leans to Ani and with his candle, lights hers and says, “With this gift of light I offer the love and light of my heart to connect all who share this circle.”
As Ani’s flame is lit, she says, “With this flame I bring the world to peace, to this one pure and beautiful moment of peace, so that they may know what it is to be at peace and will seek it in their lives forevermore.” As she leans to her mother and light’s her unlit candle she says, “With this gift of light, I offer wholeness, to bind us with a deep knowing that no matter what we search for we are already complete.”
As Mrs. Jasper’s candle is lit, she says, “With this flame I bring the world laughter, so that they may know joy and embrace joy in their lives a little more every day.” As she leans to her husband and light’s his unlit candle she says, “With this gift of light, I offer the spirit of discovery, to bind us with a sense of becoming all that we are meant to be.”
As Mr. Jasper’s candle is lit, he says, “With this flame I bring the world belonging, so that all may know they are loved.” He leans forward and lights the large candle that waits, unlit, in the center of the circle and says, “With this gift of light, I offer safety and warmth, to bind us in the knowledge that home is not just where we live together, but what we share with each other.”
To complete the circle, Kahetay chants a blessing of winter, of light and love. And as all the candles are finally lit, and the room is filled with firelight, they open the beautiful boxes that are waiting under the tree. In each box are little pieces of paper. For the seven days before Christmas, each member of the family writes a message or a blessing or a wish for everyone, whether it be humorous or heartfelt, and places it in the other family member’s boxes.
Still sitting on the floor in a circle they take turns sharing their gifts from the heart, reading the messages aloud, laughing, crying and hugging as the love between them grows as bright as the flames of their candles.
When the sharing is complete, they enjoy a sumptuous meal together that they all helped to prepare. Christmas eve is Ani’s favorite day of the year.
From my family to yours…
I wish you a wonderful holiday filled with light, laughter and love,
Author’s Note: Ani, the Jaspers, and Kahetay are characters in The LightBridge Legacy series.