Let your kinder, gentler side show this holiday season. Return a holiday greeting with a smile, even if it is not the greeting you prefer. Open doors for people, especially if their arms are full of packages. Remember store clerks are just doing a job, trying to keep a roof over their families heads and food on the table. A kind word and a smile go a long way toward making a stressful time bearable.
“It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…” Fr. Andrew Greeley, Woman’s Day, 12-22-81
Looking for a good Advent resource? Check out the Praying Advent website from Creighton University’s Online Ministries.
Remember celebration is a state of mind. All the other stuff — elaborate gifts, food and drink, excessive spending is optional. Money is not required to express the joy of the season.
Even the rushed, busy, non stop flurry of activity is a choice. So this year, try just slowing down. Life will still go on. The holidays will still go on. Take a deep breath and remember what this season means to you. This could be your most meaningful holiday yet.
It is no accident the greatest light holidays of humankind fall during times that for many people of the world are cold and dark. As the days grow shorter and the weather become colder we need that little glimmer of hope that Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali, Kwanza and others bring to us.
This year times seem especially dark and hopeless for many. Hunger, lost jobs, homes and the dreams that went with them leave many struggling in a world that is calling out, no screaming for the light.
But there is good news! We are the guardians of that light we yearn for. So this holiday season help spread the light. Watch this blog for ways you can do your part in bringing light back to a dark world.
“The first duty of love is to listen.” — Paul Tillich
Story Corp. began the National Day of LIstening on the day after Thanksgiving in 2008 as a non-commercial alternative to Black Friday Shopping. We all need a reminder that life is not about how many things we collect, but about the relationships we build. On this day after Thanksgiving take an hour to record an interview with a loved one. This is your opportunity to let the people close to you know their stories won’t be forgotten. You might be surprised by what you learn. For more information on the National Day of Listening including a Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide visit: http://www.nationaldayoflistening.org/
“Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.” – Ute Prayer
Thought you might enjoy a little break from all that holiday cooking. Sit back and enjoy! Or get up and dance if you’d like.
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of thanksgiving.”
I have learned in my own life that achieving physical, mental and spiritual balance is possible but not a once and for all kind of thing. It is more like walking a balance beam.
If you watch a gymnast you will notice she makes subtle shifts in balance to stay on the beam. So it is with life.
To live a balanced life we make subtle changes as required. At first there may be very big, noticeable changes. But as time goes on the shifts become so natural and so much a part of daily life we may not even notice them.
If you had just six words to tell your life story, or even a small part of it, what would they be?
This is a “six word memoir” I wrote awhile back:
I wanted revenge. Karma was better.
Believe me, it was.
So what’s your story? Do you have six words to share?