One of the most forgotten groups in our society is people “of a certain age”, “the elderly”, “senior citizens.” Living in a retirement resort as well as reaching my 60th birthday have taught me a few lessons about aging in America. While we may be expected to retire, make room for the next generation or spend our “golden years” traveling the world, we still have much to contribute to the world.
This month we will have quotes from people over sixty as well as posts on aging and maybe a few videos showing what the “older folks” are up too. This should be fun! Please join us!
We have been making some additions to the Espirational online family of websites over the winter. Now we are ready to unveil the first edition of Espirational Happenings, a monthly update of all things Espirational on the web. You may read it online at https://espirational.net/espirational-happenings/ or subscribe to receive it in your e-mail.
Please let us know what you think. We always welcome suggestions and ideas.
Today is my birthday. Yay! From time to time I like to put the word “birthday” in my reader and go say “Happy Birthday” to people celebrating (or not celebrating) birthdays on that particular day. It is not unusual for me to find people who are sad, angry or fearful about the day. Some go so far as to say their life is over. What is sad is that these are often people in their twenties and thirties.
Then I remember the years I hated my birthday. For me twenty-nine was worse than thirty, because it came with the realization that meeting the goals I had set for thirty just wasn’t going to happen. As my life went along I also started piling up other bad events and experiences close to or on my birthday.
At twenty-nine I thought my life was over. As I progressed through my thirties I wished it was. It took a real life “near death experience” to turn me around. Not just surviving but fully recovering convinced me that there was still work for me to do.
Every day I thank God for the miracle of life. Every day I try to live my life to the fullest. Yes, even in my sixties I still celebrate my birthday and I don’t plan to stop.
So Happy Birthday to all the birthday boys and girls out there. Remember God danced the day you were born!
Have you ever wondered about the difference between an equinox and a solstice?
According to the National Weather Service an equinox is one of the “two times of the year when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in a “nearly” equal amount of daylight and darkness at all latitudes.” The Equinoxes occur in the Spring (Vernal) and Autumn (Autumnal).
A solstice occurs “at the moment the earth’s tilt toward from the sun is at a maximum. Therefore, on the day of the summer solstice, the sun appears at its highest elevation with a noontime position that changes very little for several days before and after the summer solstice… The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. ”
So on this day, December 21, 2017 we are experiencing the shortest day and longest night of the year. Is it any wonder so many cultures and religious traditions celebrate light during this season?
Winter Solstice is observed as a Pagan Holiday with ritual and celebration involving light, including bonfires. We know that our own celebration of Christmas includes traditions and practices “borrowed” from other cultures and religions. So on this shortest day and longest night of the year it seems fitting to at least take a few moments to stop and reflect on the light that shines in the darkness no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs. Light a candle, or a bonfire or set out luminaria along your driveway, hang lights on you house, put a great big smile on your face and let that light shine!
One thing I like to do at the holidays is give a small (very small) token gift to people at random. One year I hung handmade angel ornaments anonymously on neighbor’s door knobs. Other years I have given candy canes or tea bags from a display on our door (we spent a lot of years in apartments). One year I grabbed a handful of holiday stick pins from our Christmas box (when Bob worked for a toy, novelty and gift company) as we were leaving for church and pinned them on people who were very special to me. And of course I have given away too many plates of holiday goodies to count.
What I remember most about all the things I have given at the holidays is the reaction of the people receiving them. Most have reacted like instead of a mere token I gave them gold. People like to be remembered and appreciated, especially in a way that does not make them feel obligated in any way.
So what is my Random Act of Christmas this year?
Reindeer antlers of course! The ladies at my holiday party all received antlers at the door and I’ve been handing out the leftovers on my daily walk. Remember I live in a senior community. I’ve never seem so many people over fifty smile and giggle in my life.
So I hope you will think about Random Acts of Christmas. This isn’t about spending a lot of money. Remember the thought really does count.
Our word angel comes from the Greek ἄγγελος. It means messenger. I will always think of this with a smile remembering a fellow seminary student in Greek class who happened to be named Angel beaming and exchanging laughter with the professor about the appropriateness of his name.
I do believe in God’s holy angels who are sent to be messengers of God’s love, care and sometimes judgement. I have had personal encounters with angels.
But I do also believe that we are also called to be messengers of Gods light, love and care to each other. This is not reserved for pastors or those studying to become pastors. We all do this by the way we live and care for others.
Especially during this season be sure you reflect God’s love and light and spread it around. I love angel crafts and have included a few links below if you want to share God’s love and light by giving handmade angels. If you are interested in Greek I have a reference for that too.
Hanukkah begins at sundown tonight. Do you know the story behind this light holiday? If you don’t, you need to read it. The story of Hanukkah is full of adventure and drama surrounding events leading up to a great miracle. It is a story of liberation, freedom, reclaiming what was lost and hope.