Keeping Christmas simple is easy to say but hard to do.

To honor Christ’s message of love doesn’t mean rushing around shopping for gifts — making preparations, sometimes making ourselves crazy — but who avoids this? The ads encourage us to prove our love; many of us know better and turn from the ads; but don’t we often end up making the same demand on ourselves? We forget that what gladdens the heart of another is not so much our gift as our love, which never needs to be proved.

Ironically, we seem to forget this mostly at Christmas. The fever of merchandising just mirrors our own confusion about the difference between giving what we have and giving who we are.

But instead of blaming greedy business people or ourselves, for our own silliness, isn’t it more in the spirit of Christmas to forgive ourselves our confusion, and to forgive others? We all wander in a dream of separateness: nations set apart, families divided, even left brain and right hardly able to agree. To awaken from this dream into the reality of love — the only real wakefulness — is what our lives are for. Christ came and shook us by the shoulder. But we are heavy sleepers.

The greatest gift we can give to anyone is our own wakefulness. With eyes open, we see others as they are. This is to see them with dignity, with compassion, unspeakably beautiful. Isn’t this the gift we strive to give, as we hurry on our way, list in hand, buying the things which we hope, so poignantly, will convey the tenderness in our heart?

Giving someone a subscription to THE SUN for Christmas won’t prove anything; really, who knows what it will mean? The magazine touches people in unpredictable ways. Those of us who work here and write for the magazine struggle, like you, to become more awake; the words we print tell of that struggle, and its joys. To us, it’s important to swap these stories. True, we’re all alone — but that aloneness can be diminished by a sense of painful isolation or enriched with a knowledge of our shared heartaches and hopes. We are not so different from each other after all. Yet how deliciously different we are! This is one of the many paradoxes THE SUN embraces; indeed, there’s something paradoxical in all the “answers” we turn up. It’s like the story about the perplexed student who asks the master, “Is everything, then, a paradox?” to which the master replies, “Yes, and no.”

If you’d like to give THE SUN for Christmas, we’ve made it simple.

Fill out the enclosed order form and send it back to us. A one-year subscription to THE SUN is $25. For each additional subscription you save money. The second subscription is $20, the third is $15, the fourth is $10, and the fifth is $5. This means you can order five gift subscriptions for $75 — an average of $15 for each subscription, or a savings of 40 percent off the regular subscription price.

We’ll send gift cards to everyone for whom you order a subscription so that they arrive before Christmas.

To each of you who reads the magazine, thanks. Clearly, you are as much a part of THE SUN as we are, in this old building on Rosemary Street, where the heaters will soon be turned up high — another Winter, THE SUN rolling on like the seasons, January our eleventh anniversary. What an odd and wondrous family we are, learning more each day about what connects us, giving each other such gifts.

— Sy