Thomas Moore is the author of 22 books on deepening spirituality and cultivating soul in every aspect of life. He has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist, and today he lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, and psychotherapy. He is profiled in S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers Project.

Thomas Moore's intention in this little book is to help us ponder the deeper meanings and wonders of Christmas. He believes this sacred holiday has plenty to offer to Christians and non-Christians alike. It is an event and a transformation that belongs to everyone. Here are some ways you can get in touch with the soul of Christmas.

  • Embrace the mystery. "Christmas did not begin with Jesus. Its deepest mysteries go back to the very beginnings. . . . Stonehenge in England, aligned with the winter solstice sunset, is about three thousand years old." Part of this holiday, then, is honoring the return of the light and the new beginnings it portends.
  • Note how Christmas emphasizes the importance of fantasy, magic, and the unbelievable. The sounds of reindeer feet on the roof, the disappearance of the milk and cookies left for Santa Claus, and the magic appearance of gifts under the tree are just a few ways we discover this.
  • Ponder Christmas as an archetypal event. Christmas "is not a puzzle to be figured out but a mysterious happening that transfigures life and gives it meaning. It makes life merry and worthy of our complete devotion."
  • Meditate on the nativity scene. Put one in your home and notice the ones displayed in your community. "Nothing could be more important than finding ways to incorporate in your person and your life the moment when the spiritual realm fully intersects with your ordinary life."
  • Reflect on the elements of the traditional scene. The child in the manger is surrounded by animals who, as St. Francis taught us, are our brothers and sisters. Over their heads are the stars in the sky, shining with all their glory and eliciting our wonder.
  • Affirm and celebrate the Christmas tree as "a wondrous ritual object in a world that has lost its genius for ritual." Take good care of this green and glorious beauty. Reverence the ornaments you hang on this tree and share with family and friends stories about them.
  • Listen to and sing Christmas songs which are the true and abiding angel music of this season of joy and good cheer.
  • Treasure the gifts exchanged at this time. "Christmas gifts are a taste of utopia, a way of being in the world that flows from the heart and overcomes ego anxieties. In this way, gifts are the real meaning of Christmas and are an important part of the entire, multi-faceted festival."
  • Be like Santa. He wears red; he smiles a lot through his beard; he is jolly and filled with laughter and good cheer.
  • Be merry. "The Christmas greeting is not about good behavior but about being merry, seeing the beauty and goodness of life, in spite of all the bad stuff."

All of these ingredients can be fused together and experienced as sacred dimensions of the soul of Christmas.