I can remember the magic of Christmas as a kid. My brothers and I would sit on the couch picking out toys we wanted from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. We didn’t have television growing up and the Internet wasn’t even a thing yet, so catalogs were how we created our Christmas list. We would also go to a friend’s farm every year and cut down the perfect tree. We’d decorate it together with candy canes, homemade gingerbread men, and strands of popcorn. It was always a magical time of the year. One of my favorite things about Christmas were the lights. So many nights I would lay under the tree fascinated at watching the bubble lights. To me, there was something so wonderful about the lights of Christmas.

I was reminded of this in reading Robert Holden’s article this morning, Five Ways to Experience a Miracle this Christmas. Holden talks about the sign of Christmas being a star. He shared a quote from the Course in Miracles, “The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come.” He went on to share another quote from the course, “The truth in you remains as radiant as a star, as pure as light, as innocent as love itself.”

As December marks the start of the Christmas season I’m inspired yet again by the lights of Christmas. I love seeing the homes, streets, and trees lit up. I’m reminded of the magic I experienced with Christmas as a kid. As much as I still love all the lights around town, a deeper meaning this Christmas inspires me.

A few weeks ago I gave a talk at an event, Answer the CALL. Giving talks and speeches to groups has become a pretty common thing for me these days. I talk at schools, colleges, businesses, clubs, etc. As much speaking as I’ve been doing lately, this talk was special. Sitting in the front row was my mentor. Five years earlier, after a suicidal crisis, I hired him to help me create a speech. I wanted to do something different with my life and I thought writing a book and traveling the country sharing it would be the thing to save my life. In so many ways, it was. As my mom pointed out, I would need some practice at speaking before I hit the road. At the time I was painfully shy and speaking in a group was beyond terrifying. Shit, just talking in general was scary for me. So yes, hiring a speaking coach was definitely necessary.

I worked for months on this talk. In creating this talk I ended up healing a lot of deep hurts. I opened my heart and my life changed in big ways. This one talk turned into many talks and a complete change in career. Five years later, here I was on stage again with my mentor, again, sitting in the front row. As I saw him I thought back on the last five years. I remembered how desperate, alone, and stuck I was when I met him. I remembered the darkness. I thought about all I had done over the years to heal and to help others do the same.

As I thought about this journey I became overwhelmed with feelings of love, gratitude, and joy. I looked out into the audience and felt so much love for the amazing people who showed up. I thought about my family and filled up even more with love. I thought about the wonderful partners I created this event with, and was beyond moved. I thought about this amazing man sitting in the front row who has been my mentor, my coach, and a dear friend. As much love as I felt for all these people it didn’t touch the love I felt for myself in this moment. I was flooded with love for myself. I was so proud of my journey, of my willingness, my grit, my perseverance, and my loving heart. My heart grew two sizes that day.

For me, the greatest gift of my life has been falling in love with myself. I spent a lot of time hating myself, so this has been extra special. I’m astounded by the awesomeness of myself. I have seen the star, the light shining in the darkness, the Heaven shining within. I have seen the truth of me and it is indeed as pure as light and as innocent as love itself.

So this Christmas season I am again, awed at the Christmas lights. I slow down and enjoy all the colors, the sparkles, and the glow of Christmas. I sit on my couch and enjoy the lights on the tree. Yet, this Christmas I am experiencing the true miracle of the most amazing light of all, the light within. As you drink your eggnog and sing a Christmas carol, remember this Christmas the magic of your own brilliant light that shines brightly inside of you. You, are the greatest gift of all.