The Embrace: A Christmas Story

The Embrace

A Christmas Story


Joseph Anthony


They walked all day. Miles
they came taking turns carrying the child. As the mother and father moved
cautiously through the darkening woods they ached with fatigue. And when their
plodding steps slowed to a halt they couldn’t help it, they sat down to rest right
there in the middle of the road. The mother handed the child to the father so
she could stretch out. The father held the child on his chest and joined her on
the cool, dusty road. 

silently, from the darkness, yellow eyes appeared. The father grabbed the child
and sat upright. Suddenly animals stepped from the shadows towards them. He
roused his wife. They huddled there together, shaking—turning every which way
only to see animals forming a circle around them. The child began to giggle.
The father moved to cover his face, but the child brushed his hands away. His
eyes widened with glee as the animals moved closer.

first to reach them was the mountain lion. She carried something in her mouth.
It was a rabbit. She laid it at their feet and turned away, yellow eyes
flashing. The bear lumbered towards them next. In his mouth were two rainbow
trout. He laid them before the trembling couple, snorted and sniffled, and then
turned back to the shadows. Then came the heron, looking for all intensive
purposes like a tall, skinny butler. He stepped his long, remarkable strides,
and in his outstretched wings was held a bowl of pure, cold water. He offered
it without spilling a drop. And so, one by one the animals came bearing gifts
of wild berries, salads of dandelion greens and edible flowers, and even
freshly baked bread from—from—the couple never found out where from. And lastly
came the reindeer and the wolf. The reindeer carried a wreath of glowing
candles in her antlers. With the utmost care she laid it before them. It
illuminated their tear-stained faces. The wolf took his place beside the family
and stood guard as they began to eat.

And so
that night they feasted on a meal lovingly prepared by the animals. They had
never had such a nourishing meal.

they had eaten and drank their fill, the wolf disappeared into the cave of the
night. And the couple laid back in the road to sleep. The darkness was almost
complete as they stared exhausted into the tree-branch laced sky. Then all at
once the trees leaned forward and down with their branches. The couple
screamed, but then realized the trees were opening their arms in offering—they
were giving them a place to nestle for the night. 

couple looked at each other and then carefully stood and stepped into the
waiting branches. The trees lifted them instantly high off the ground. The air
caressed the little trinity of humanity as it rose, higher into the night sky.
That night, they slept like baby birds in the gently swaying trees. 

It was
the child who awoke when he heard the earth singing the sweetest of lullabies.
It was a song of crickets and of night birds and frogs, it was the song of the
padded steps of animals, it was the song of the river flowing somewhere in the
darkness. As he listened, he felt the earth holding the roots of their tree
with all of the love and tenacity of a mother swaddling her baby. 

And so
it was the child who felt the arms of the moon reaching down and lifting them
even higher.

embrace was like refreshing silver water pouring slowly over them. And as the
moon cradled the little family, the child laughed as he watched the Milky Way
swooping her star-fringed arms and gathering them all—the mother and father, the
babe, the animals, the trees, the earth, and the moon into her gently dancing

the baby reached up and brushed her face, tracing his fingers through her
star-dappled hair. And as he did, his eyes caught site of the universe turning
towards them, carrying them along in the perfect folds of his cloak of shadows
and light.

the child laughed. He laughed as he saw the Creator of All holding them
tenderly in cupped hands. And as he took in this marvelous vision, he sank into
the cradle of his parents arms and knew all of this was within himself. He held
it all—the animals, the trees, the earth, the moon, the Milky Way, the
universe, and the Creator–in his heart. Within him was one elaborate tapestry
of wonder and perfection. He knew he treasured it all inside, and with that
thought, he went to sleep in the dear, innocent arms of his mother and father. 

Merry Christmas.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

On the Rebirth of Innocence, A Christmas Meditation

I wrote this last year around this time and was inspired to share it again today.  May it help fill you with hope and joy.


On the Rebirth of Innocence

A Christmas Meditation


Joseph Anthony

Everyone has
things happen to them that shouldn’t happen. 
Everyone carries wounds within their very cells.  This being said, everyone also has things happen
to them that should happen.  Everyone carries healing and purity within
their cells. Both leave imprints on the soul and the cells of the body.

Learn to
slowly integrate both into your life.

What?  Integrate pain?  That’s crazy. 
Except that every human life experiences pain—emotional, mental, and
physical.  Of course, it’s good to avoid
the unnecessary manufacture of pain and to not put one’s hand on a hot
stove.  However, we cannot avoid pain completely.  So when it comes, learn, within reason, to
feel it, especially the emotional and mental varieties.  All pain is a messenger.

I was asked
recently how often I moved towards the pain—the emotional pain.  I replied that most days the pain moves
towards me.  It’s safe to do that now.  Once not too long ago the pain wasn’t welcome;
I treated it like a monster, an outcast, a pariah.  Now it knows I will give it a place to spend
the night.  I will listen to it, sit with
it, and move towards it with intent to honor and ultimately transform it
through the very act of listening and embracing it.  It can be itself while knowing, its heart of
heart is love—protection—the desire to be whole.

The same is
true for healing.  It is safe to flow
towards me and from me.  It is welcome in
my heart, body, and soul.  I am learning
to open my arms to healing, to sit with it, listen to it and transform it into
anything it needs to be.  It can be
itself, even as it manifests itself as music, poetry, nature, the touch of a
friend, the smile of a child, you.

How does one
open their heart to healing?  Can
innocence really be reclaimed, reborn, rediscovered?  Is it ever completely lost?  Does it ever completely die?  Can it ever truly be stolen? And if it can be
reborn, how does one make room inside for that to happen? 

Keep in mind
the roots of the word: innocence is
related to the word noxious, and thus
means not-noxious, not harmful, not poison, and not sick (online etymology
dictionary).  This being the case
innocence can certainly be born again in our lives, indeed, it must be.  Our very bodies are equipped with healing
cells.  The same is true for the heart
and the soul.  We are all born with the
white blood cells of spirit and joy.

To be
specific, here, in a nutshell are some suggestions for allowing innocence to be
reborn within you:

Learn to
embrace your sorrow and pain.

Learn to
stop doing things that harm yourself and others.

Learn to
forgive others and yourself.

Learn to
seek forgiveness and repair anything you have broken.

Learn, with the
help and guidance of mentors, trusted friends, and therapists, to find
direction in your life.

Learn to
breathe fully.

Learn to be
in the moment—every moment.

Learn to
love yourself—your body, your own unique ways of thinking and praying and being.

Learn to be open to and to integrate healing modalities such as EFT into your life.

Learn to

Learn to

There are
other things as well.  And while I think
the ultimate journey towards innocence involves unique moments of pain and
darkness for everyone in one way or another, everyone’s path also involves
unique moments of healing and revelation.

Know that
the worse you feel (even if you feel down and out right now), the more you are able to sit with the pain, the more
your life has been reduced to spiritual poverty, where your animal instincts
are crowding around your life, there is another part of you, a union of quiet
strength and willingness; a union of intuition and openness; a union of dreams
and passion, that is seeking your heart, your very own dingy, broken heart to
give birth to innocence.  It is looking
for a “house of bread.”  And it is guided
by both the star of your dreams and the light of your wounds.  And when you have humbled yourself or life
humbles you, know that innocence will be born again inside you.  It is seeking a place, daily, hourly, ever
more, to find a safe place to be born. And when it finds the manger of your
heart, open the doors, let the night winds swirl and dance, let those same
clumsy animals gather round for the body is beautiful, let those who shepherd innocence come near, and lo, let the Wonder Child be born anew.  Let the gift of the birth of your Divine
Innocence be adored, be praised, be showered
with treasure. Let that innocence rise and celebrate who you really are—your gifts
and talents.  Share them with the world,
help others, inspire others, nourish others with the Bread of Life growing within
you, and you will truly experience the rebirth of innocence–Divine innocence,
Holy innocence.  And your life and the
lives of those around you will truly help save the world.

Happy Holidays

from Joseph Anthony


The Wonder Child Blog

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

I Am Not a Computer, by Joseph Anthony

I Am Not a Computer


Joseph Anthony


“You must
unlearn what you have been programmed to believe since birth.  That software no longer serves you if you
want to live in a world where all things are possible.”


posted this on my timeline recently and with no disrespect intended to its author, I was immediately struck with antipathy
towards it.  As I reflected on why, my
feelings became clearer, as I have had similar thoughts and feelings in the
past about such ideas.  I think I have
them clear enough to share. At least, I’ll try.

I am not a
machine.  My mind is not a computer.  I much prefer to imagine my mind as a garden,
a vast network of soil, herbs and flowers, whose roots mingle with yours and
with the Divine’s.  A place of beauty and
mystery, wonder and creativity, a rich tapestry of land with golden harvests of
possibilities where the fruits of meditation, discipline, and prayer blossom to
be shared and enjoyed by all.

And that’s
just the beginning, the poetic beginning. 
Every time we compare our minds with a computer we distance ourselves
from ourselves and the natural world around us.  And the space that occupies this distance
devolves into fears, superstitions, and apathy.

My mind is
not a hard drive.  My beliefs are not
software.  My mind is not
programmable.  To keep such analogies in
our mind’s eye makes us look at the world more impersonally, less human, less
feeling.  We are no longer responsible for ourselves.  After all, someone “programmed” us. And since computers can’t program themselves then we wait, victims, until someone solves our bugs.

As a garden,
any unwanted crops may be removed. 
Sometimes weeds need removal. 
Cultivating an inner garden stirs more of a sense of devotion and life
than having to defragment your mind to remove limited beliefs.  Cultivate the flowers you want.  Graft the trees of your imagination’s orchard
with those of like-minded friends.  Grow entirely
new fruits.  The flavors and nutrients of shared ideas are limitless. 

Some might
argue that I am being nitpicky.  Perhaps
I am.  However, I believe we believe what
we say to ourselves all day long.  I
understand computers mean so much to us in today’s world.  I am very grateful for them.  I am not anti-technology.  It’s just that metaphors and analogies are
made up of words and images and these are both living things.  What images and words do you want living in
your head, your heart, and your body?  Are
you a robot?  An automaton?

You might
not think this matters, but look around you. 
Look at people as they walk the streets, ride the bus, sit around tables
at restaurants.  We rarely look at each
other nowadays. We rarely listen.  Our
ears hold ear buds, our gaze is turned downwards at little screens.  This is all due, in part, to identifying
ourselves with these machines.  We always
want to be one with ourselves and those around us.  We instinctively seek union.  And we do that with what we feel drawn, close to,
like.  And if we identify with our minds
as being portable programmable computers and hard drives, then, of course, we
would look away from one another and towards the objects of our imaginations.  

Lastly, these mechanistic images lead us away
from intimacy with the earth.  They
depersonalize us and separate us further from the planet.  And that’s the last thing our dear Mother
Gaia needs.  She needs us touching her,
believing in her, healing her, nurturing her, helping her breathe.

This moment and
this earth are not virtual reality.  This moment
and this earth carry the essence of all that we are.  They are alive.  They are ever pregnant, ever giving birth, ever absorbing the seeds of new
ideas and inspirations. If we think of them as mechanized or computerized, we
will not want to touch them or become intimate with them.  We will move further and further away and
wonder why we are lonely.

So the next
time someone says your mind is like a computer, imagine it instead like a
garden, or an ocean, a lake, a field, or a forest.  Let these images draw you closer to yourself,
to the earth, and to others.  You will be
surprised at the beauty, the fragrance, and the infinite possibilities of
oneness that bloom and spread from such active, living imaginations.

PS: Not
everything we learned as children needs to be unlearned.  The majority of our lessons still benefit us,
even the painful ones.  Plant new
beliefs, cultivate new desires, weed out any that you no longer want, but if
you uprooted them all, well, you’d have an empty garden. 

“Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.” 

–Milan Kundera

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Importance of Saying: “You’re Welcome,” by Joseph Anthony

The Importance of Saying:

“You’re Welcome”


Joseph Anthony

We have all
experienced saying “thank you” to someone only to have them say, “No, thank you,” in return. Or they keep the “no”
out of it and just say, “thank you.”  Why would people essentially refuse our
thanks?  Why would we ever refuse someone
else’s thanks? In this season of exchanging gifts let’s take a few moments to
look closer at the words: “You’re welcome.” 
 For just as giving thanks for
yourself, your family and friends, and for the Divine is important–welcoming
oneself and all of these beloveds is perhaps even more so.

Using the
ever handy Online Etymology Dictionary we find that “welcome,” comes from the
Old English, wilcuma, which literally means, “one whose coming is according to
another’s will.”  And this comes from combining
the Old English words, “willa,” meaning “pleasure, desire, or choice” and
“Cuma,” meaning “guest (ibid).” 
“Welcome” didn’t become attached to “thank you,” until the early
1900’s.  Before that it was used as an “exclamation
of kindly greeting. (ibid).”

So when
someone arrives in our presence and gives us a gift, or holds the door for us,
or we do the same for them and we both exchange: “thank you’s,” and “you’re
welcome’s,” we are celebrating the sharing of a space.  It is an intimate moment of receiving another
into our wills, our pleasures.  It is an
open reception in which we invite them into our desires and likewise we get a glimpse
of theirs. 

Of course, one
needs to be secure in who they are to invite someone into their midst, if even
just for a fleeting moment.  To welcome
someone into your presence means inviting the risk of rejection, it means a
sprinkling of vulnerability added to the spice of life.  In other words part of the key of learning to
say “you’re welcome,” to another person is learning to say it yourself.  Of course if we waited until we had that
lesson down perfectly we might never say it to another.  But this learning to welcome yourself into
yourself and out into the world around you (and within you) is a lifelong
journey.  And it begins in the mirror and
continues in the space of your own heart and in the fierce and tender
acceptance of your own talents and dreams.  And it goes further.

living a life in which how and what you did was consciously in accord with your
own will and desires, your own choices and pleasures.  That’s the goal, isn’t it?  That’s how we walk in freedom.  And this all spirals back to self-love and
self-acceptance.  It returns to the core
of our being in love with our own dreams and desires.  And to do this, we must know them, we must
know ourselves.  

And who are

Stars.  Stars illuminated with the grace of Divine

And what are
our dreams and desires? Parts of that same Light—songs, if you will—living,
breathing songs, meant to be sung for the good and pleasure of ourselves and

So when we
give thanks to the Creator and wait for the “you’re welcome,” why not give it
to yourself as if spoken directly from the mouth of God?

The Divine
doesn’t need our praise.  It doesn’t need
us to go around saying “thank you, thank you” for everything that happens or
doesn’t happen.  The praise makes us feel
good, for there is joy in giving.  We
also feel good because inwardly we realize we are part of the creative power
making it all happen.  And so we come to
know there is joy in receiving.  But
instead of simply saying the words, let us live our lives as expressions of
thanks by accepting and singing our Heart’s Desires.

As a parent,
I know I like it when my children say “thank you,” but to need them to say it
over and over keeps them obliged in a sick and twisted way.  What I want my children to do is have
fun.  To go play.  To go share and develop whatever it is that
I’ve given them as their father.  I want
them to go and transform it into their own. 
To expand upon it.  To recycle
it.  I do not need their constant
thanks.  But I digress.  This post is about welcoming one another and
ourselves in each other’s worlds; into each other’s space.  My point is, I believe the Divine wants us to
do the same.  Receive this gift of life
and go play.

This Holiday
Season, let us realize who we are and how we have been welcomed into the world
and into the song of the Divine. Let us give one another thanks and
welcoming.  Let us give these to
ourselves.  Let us give a hearty welcome to
our outrageous and wonderful dreams and help each other make them come true.  Let us dance in the glory of both giving and
receiving; of being a part of the Birth of Infinite Love that arrives in each
of us a child, a being of possibility and wonder, waiting to sing through us and
with us, the song of the stars.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Who Is Speaking This Hymn of Woven Moon Light?

Who Is
Speaking This Hymn of Woven Moon Light?

A Poem of Desire


Joseph Anthony


Wonder Child Blog Readers,


When I
first wrote a draft for this poem a couple years ago, I thought it was my soul
speaking to the Divine coming in the form of a Moon Goddess.  After revising it though I realize I am no
longer sure if it is my soul addressing the Divine or the soul of the Divine
addressing me.


What do
you think?


behind a veil of shadow and drifting darkness you appear,

in robes of luminous white.

The dark
waters of my soul

carries pieces
of my broken heart into your lap.

You gather
them in your skirts, move silently to the river’s edge 

and spill them in.  And where once there lived fires of grieving 

and mountains of suffering,

now the
mountains turn into wild horses, shimmering towards the horizon as 

an unfolding
scroll of revelations and new testaments; and the fires become   

flocks of
angels swirling in song.

night you whisper: I ache to hear your every word, and when you finally 

break into
whatever it is you long to be, you will see me moving

towards you
like wild horses and a flock of angels, and I will lift you up

myself and hold you as the sky holds the moon,

and we
will dream as one as the dawn slowly bathes us

dazzling light.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog