Friday, December 13, 2013

9 - Eternal Memories

If you want to feel eternal love and joy for all your life’s experiences, things past and things enjoyed, keep it simple. These experiences are never lost and do not have to be a source of pain and sadness. Eternal love and joy flow from being inclusive and simple. All of our life’s’ experiences belong to the eternal now. In simplification and continuity, we experience our life in its continuous and harmonious beauty.

When we face a holiday, or celebration of any kind, we tend to remember things from our current perspective, as we are now. But the key to joyful memories is to remember the joys as we were then, and bring that joy forward without all the baggage attached to them. So, instead of thinking of Christmas past as we feel now, how it was and how it disappeared and people have left and so on, we can instead keep it simple and remember it as it was and is recorded without embellishments.

When the Christmas time arrives, I like to remember all the childhood memories I so enjoyed. When we were children, we lived in a one-room house. Every Christmas morning, we would wake up and see complete outfits that my Mother had made for us children laid at the foot of our beds. We would have dresses and sweaters for the girls, pants and jackets for the boys, new pairs of wool socks, and our shoes were polished and set near the door.

We would be thrilled at seeing our new clothes. Mom would make entire outfits for us in secret.  A huge surprise would greet us in the morning!

One morning, I remember awakening to a beautiful dark green wool dress. It had long sleeves and a big, flared skirt embellished all around with little knitted and stuffed cherries with leaves. My sister and I had identical dresses and we also had heavy knit sweaters with matching hats; light green for me, speckled green for Sister. Our hair was curled the night before into tight ringlets. We all got dressed and went to Church.

To make sure we appreciated the meaning of Christmas, Mom also took us to a big Catholic or Greek Church that had huge and elaborate decorations and Nativity scenes. She would tell us the story of Christmas and how important it was to remember the birth of Christ. We would walk around and marvel at the beautiful lights and decorations.

Gifts in our home were simple and practical. We did not get toys from Mom and Dad. But, our aunts sent us each a toy from the United States; large dolls, trucks for the boys, and a farmhouse set. We did have a Christmas tree: a three foot branch cut from a neighbor’s pine tree, set into a pot of soil, and decorated with ornaments and live candles. Mom lit the candles at night. We did not have to worry about setting our house on fire; we lived in a stone house!

Another time I remember she made us girls green plaid taffeta skirts with mint green angora sweaters. We looked so beautiful and fluffy!

As we grew older and came to the United States, our Christmas mornings grew more complicated and plentiful. We would have mounds of presents under the tree, homemade and store-bought. Mom would cook Christmas goodies, we would decorate a huge tree, dress up, go to Church, and have a great Christmas dinner.

As we all got older and moved away from home, our Christmases became smaller, more subdued, but still meaningful with friends and whatever family we had around.  In all my years, I only had one Christmas alone and that was when I lived overseas for a year.

And Dad, every year he gave a lecture about the deeper meaning of Christmas. There was always a huge Christmas tree at the group Center. He would stand before it and, with passion and twinkling in his eyes, give yet another insight about the deeper meaning of Christmas. Dad loved Christ and the deeper meaning of Christmas and never tired of talking about it. 1

Now, I have moved into a new phase and ask myself: What does Christmas really mean to me? The decorations, the crazy shopping, the stress of preparations and the forced gaiety have no place in my heart.  I want to remember the simple beauty of Christmas of my childhood, the new clothes, the smells of food cooking, the joy of Church services and songs. I try to remember all the times with family and friends and the one time I felt completely alone. What lessons does my life have for me? Can I remember all these times with fondness and not sadness?

I still want to remember the old days, the innocence of childhood and the magic of lights and the simple meaning of Christmas, but also want to celebrate this very special time with something more special; something deeper. For me, I want to go inside of me and remember the cherished gifts and memories that make me who I am today. I want to know if I am also giving birth to the Christ within me, my true being, my own soul, something permanent to add to the stream of memories. That would be a birth of something deeply meaningful, it would never grow old, it would never die, and I would never feel alone, ever.

Everything in our life is recorded and we can remember them with joy. On the outside, events come and go; people come and go. But they never really leave us if we hold them in our hearts openly and without any remorse. Our heart is big enough to hold all the great things that we have experienced. If I remember them with simplicity, not making something out of them that was not, but in simplicity, and holding them in my heart with no tightness and no remorse, and moving those cherished feelings through myself to now, then everything and everyone is included. I bring the whole package through the river of my life.  I create a huge treasury of wonderful and loving occasions and persons who will always stay with me.

Thank you all for reading my posts and supporting our work. You are part of the cherished tapestry of my life. I wish you a most joyous and wonderful Christmas. My you expand with simplicity and the beauty of your heart.


1. These are now collected in the Teachings ofChrist, Volume 1, The Birth of Christ.

       Gita Saraydarian is the Founder and President of TSG Foundation.

       See Gita's YouTube presentation on the Gifts of Christ.


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Gita Saraydarian
Founder and President of TSG Foundation, home of Torkom Saraydarian's creative works.
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