Affirmation: I know by meditating on Jesus, throughout my day, I am in union with the Divine; Miracles are created and without struggle my life is transformed in ways beyond my imagination.
As I write this we are in the final week of Advent. It is that season when many are preparing for Christmas. Christmas! What emotions does that word stir in you? I must admit many times throughout the season, the one emotion I feel is panic. But, I love the season. I love the music, I love decorating the house (It looks so warm and inviting with the tree and the lights.) I love sharing stories via cards, I love buying gifts for my family and friends, I love the opportunity to give to some who are less fortunate than I. I love the cold, because I snuggle in, wrap up, eat more soup. I love preparing for the miracle of the season, Christmas day.
Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate one of the most widely recognized holidays in all the world. For some, it's simply a secular holiday: time off from work, time to be with family and friends, a time with some sort of rituals that hopefully bring comfort and peace.
But, for me, it's about the birth of my savior.
For others, however, it is a time of sadness, loneliness, or perhaps a time of emptiness. In some of the conversations Ive had during Advent the word "hate" has actually come up along with the word Christmas. Some have shared they hate the pressure, they hate the shopping, they hate trying to meet other people’s expectations, they hate being alone, or they hate being with everyone. For them, it’s too much or too little and they’d just like it to go away.
What do you think? Is it good to recognize that you hate something? What do you do with that emotion? How does it affect your spirit, your whole being? You certainly don't want to disregard how you feel about something but how can you use it to improve you life? Once you recognize it, would it help to reframe it into something more positive? And then, how do you do that? What if this has been a horrible time for you in your life? I'm sure you can think of difficult experiences you’ve had that have taken place at certain times of the year and that you carry in your memories and your cells. But, can one turn that around? Can you go from acknowledging the pain but eliminating the suffering? How would one do that?
I must admit when it comes to my faith I seem to have more questions than answers. I need and seek out experiences that affirm my faith as I see it and that encourage it to deepen, to strengthen. I decided to dedicate Advent as a time to do just that. I have made a conscious decision to invite Jesus, the Blessed Mother, my Angels and guides to join me, to stay with me, throughout my entire day. I believe, actually, that they never leave me, it is I in my busyness, my attention to worldly activities, who leaves them. But, for this season, and hopefully going forward, I have made a conscious effort to pray unceasingly. What does that look like? Well, it includes morning and evening prayers. It includes readings from some book I read before I journal like, In Conversation with God, and it includes taking a deep breath throughout the day and simply saying "Jesus." It's a perfect prayer to go with a deep inhale and a long exhale and I feel like it brings me back to that place I so desire to be; in the presence of God.
Yes, I can understand that some people suffer through the holidays. Some people don't need to wait for a holiday in order to suffer, they suffer through all of life. You've met them. They are grumpy and dissatisfied with whatever happens, like Mr. Wilson in the Dennis the Menace cartoon. Everyday we get to choose. We get to choose how we are going to think about our day, our lives. A powerful way to neutralize your suffering is to find at least one thing every day that brings you joy, one small thing and let yourself absorb it? If you can recognize the blessings that come at this time, you'll feel differently about the season. You'll feel better about it and about life. If you find the blessings, your heart will soften towards that day of hope which will inevitably arrive.
Christmas! Christmas Day! A day to celebrate, to celebrate the birth of the Christ child; a day to celebrate the miracle of God becoming man. Every year we get to relive that day more than 2000 years ago when Jesus entered this world to save us from ourselves. Christmas, a day of blessings then and today if you choose to focus on the miracle that took place then and continues to present itself to us forever more.