Here we are again at the beginning of the month of December when we celebrate “Christmas.” Are you one of the people who dread this time of year and just wish it would be over? Do you feel like you are going through the motions of the season because you don’t want to let your family down or that you wouldn’t be a “good Christian” if you didn’t? Are you tired of the great festival of greed and excess the holidays have become? Have you noticed that instead of bringing us together, the divisions that separate us seem to grow even deeper during this season? So what do we do?
Well I have a suggestion. Let’s realize that the busyness and excess surrounding the holiday called “Christmas” are not part of the Christmas story or the message of Jesus. Let’s take the myths and fables out of our celebrations. And finally, let’s stop worshiping the baby in the manger and start following the life and teachings of Jesus, the way shower and master teacher.
This month we are going to be looking at the life and teachings of Jesus and how they apply to the lives of his followers in the world today. My personal preference of translation of the Bible for my personal study is the King James version because I love the language, but I have chosen to use the New International Version (NIV) for this series because it is easier to read.
Each day’s post will end with an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the lesson, by considering a question or questions. I encourage you to think about these, live with them for a while. Journal about them or post your thoughts to the comments. Please get active in this discussion, we really want everyone to gain a real understanding of what it is we are celebrating during this holiday season.
Yes, this may be challenging, but it will be life-changing if you allow it. Please join us in this great adventure into the life of Jesus.
Dig a Little Deeper:
During the month of December Christians celebrate light and Jesus.
How do our celebrations reflect the light and life of Jesus?
We live in a time of great darkness. We may feel driven to fight against the darkness. If this is your path I would like to give a word of caution that is can be difficult to fight without becoming what we are fighting.
This is the time I believe we are being called to remember. To remember who we are and where we came from. To remember our light and our spiritual power.
We are light and what this world so desperately needs right now is for all of us to shine. We change the world by the way that we live. We don’t have to try to judge, teach or change anyone. When others see the light shining through us they will come to us. They will see that we are different and will want to know more.
The month of December is a difficult time for many people. The time when we speak of peace on earth goodwill to all can also be a time of anger, feeling that we are the only ones with the truth, greed, materialism and other displays of human frailty. This is the time to stay true to your calling and not get caught up in petty squabbles over celebrations, what is being celebrated or appropriate holiday greetings.
This is the time we must focus on the light that we are and walk in it. So this holiday season go out there and SHINE!
What does shining your light look like in your life? Please take time to ponder this question. Think about it, journal, create art, answer the question in the comments below, whatever you feel led to do.
Okay, so that got your attention. Everyone wants to find a love that will last, right? Well the truth is there really is no secret, just the reality that you have to work at it.
Bob and I have been married for 26 years now. Not really such a big deal when you consider our ages. We both had other relationships, including marriages that did not turn out the way we would have wished. But apparently today 26 years is a long time for a relationship to last.
Like any marriage ours has had its ups and downs, good times and bad, joys and sorrows. It has definitely been a learning experience and at times an endurance test. The words of the marriage vows are easy to say if you have never experienced the worse, sickness and poorer side. When those things happen, and they will, you learn what those promises you made really mean.
There are a few things we do that I think contribute to the health of our relationship.
We say “I love you.” At least once every day.
We thank each other. Bob still thanks me for driving him into town and cooking dinner.
We are a team and we are at our best when we are working together.
We hold hands. Aww that’s so cute — I know. We get that all the time. We have always held hands, but now with Bob’s vision problems, it is an even greater reminder to us of our dedication to each other as I help him navigate the world — literally.
We enjoy each others company and we talk to each other — a lot. What do we talk about? Everything. Serious stuff, funny stuff, deep intellectual stuff, mundane daily life stuff, spiritual stuff, current events — you name it we talk about it.
When hard times come and they do we always end up saying “we’ll get through this” and we always do.
And finally our faith and conviction that we were brought together for a reason helps keep us together.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
What are some of the ways you work at building a love that will last?
Merry Christmas! But let’s stop for just a minute and think about what would happen if we actually lived Christmas.
What if instead of having a wild party every December full of over spending and over indulging, we actually lived what we say the season really means to us? What if family really were the most important thing in our lives, every day? What if peace, hope, love and light were the reality we walked in? What if we welcomed the Christ Presence into the world and into our lives every minute of every day, instead of just once a year? How would the world change if we could recognize the Christ in others?
This year let us dedicate ourselves to letting there be Christmas everywhere, every day, every hour and every minute by keeping that Christ light shining in, through and as us. This is how we change the world folks. Peace and blessings to you.
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.