Christmas: A Generous Heart

For me, the spirit of Christmas is generosity of heart, which is miraculous thing indeed. William Hazlitt said: “A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles,” There are many other quotes that help call the spirit of Christmas. John Ruskin in his essay “Work” said: Give a little love to a child, and you get a great deal back,” On the outside Christmas may look like brightly wrapped gifts, but on the inside, the heart expands with kindness and joy. Elbert Hubbard said: “Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep.” Giving can be big and it can be small. A Japanese proverb says: “One kind word can warm three winter months.” This kind of mindfulness manifests in many forms, one being giving our attention to others. Simone Weil said: “Attention … is the rarest and purest form of generosity The Christmas calls us to be giving and kind to others, and to be kind and generous to ourselves. In his work Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner said: “The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.” Then we can extend this Spirit into the year ahead. As Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol said: “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Puritan Names

Today’s naming trends vary significantly from that of our ancestors. Puritans often named their children after Biblical virtues, phrases, or verses, which resulted in such names as Silence, Abstinence, and Thankful. One of the most unusual Puritan names was Through-Much-Trial-and-Tribulation-We-Enter-the-Kingdom-of-Heaven — or “Tribby” for short. In Colonial times, parents might open the Bible and randomly point to a word, and so Notwithstanding Griswold and Maybe Barnes were created.
Inspired Baby Names from Around the World

If your name is Kate

Kate is the English form of Katherine or Kathleen, from the Greek word katharas meaning “pure, innocent, and virtuous.” It is a quality of the spirit, and it means “unmixed, clean, and clear.” We think of pure water or of the purity of a baby or a lamb. The Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida said: “If my heart can become pure and simple like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this.” Purity is a rather hard self-description to own, at least it has been for me. My middle name is also Kay, and I have often thought to myself that I am definitely not pure! What helps me to better embrace this meaning is the Hebrew word neshama, meaning “soul or spirit.” There is a Jewish saying: “Neshama. My soul, she is pure.” Your soul is pure, Kate, and it cannot be unclean. As you relate to your pure soul, begin seeing others in the same light and you can bring heaven to earth. In Henry V, Shakespeare says: “An angel is like you, Kate, and you are like an angel.”

If your name is Rose

If your name is Rose, it is English, from the Latin word rosa meaning “rose, or reddish-pink color.” More than any other flower, the rose has been prized for its beauty the world over. Symbolic associations with the rose have existed since the days of the ancient Romans and Greeks. Roses have been identified with love and passion since those times, beginning with their association with the goddesses Aphrodite, Isis and Venus. Cleopatra is said to have received Marc Anthony in a room literally knee-deep in roses. The rose symbolizes love, remembrance, passion with the red rose), purity with the white rose, happiness with the pink rose, and friendship with the yellow rose. The rose has been also used as an image of the Virgin Mary, who was known as the “Mystic Rose.” Katharine Lee Bates once said: “Love planted a rose, and the world turned sweet.” My favorite rose quote, however, is by Hazrat Khan in The Gayan: “Rosebud, what were you doing at night? / I was praying to Heaven with closed hands to open my heart.”

Thanksgiving quotes

Best Thanksgiving quote:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was “thank you,” that would suffice. —Meister Eckhart

Other good ones:

Give thanks for a little and you’ll find a lot. —Nigerian Proverb

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself. —Chief Tecumseh

A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things. —Plato

Middle Names

Did you know that middle names sometimes serve as adjectives to describe first names? My first name is Neala, meaning “cloud or champion,” and my middle name is Kay meaning “pure or innocent,” so my name means “pure cloud or innocent champion.” A more interesting example, however, is Nelson Mandela. His middle name was Rolihlahla which means “pulling the branch of a tree” or “troublemaker.” As Nelson also means “cloud or champion,” Mr. Mandela’s name fits him extraordinarily well. He was imprisoned by the South African apartheid government for being a troublemaker, and yet he became a champion of human rights. His troublemaking cloud had a silver lining, one that has inspired millions around the world.

Inspired Baby Names from Around the World