It's fairly obvious that we celebrate Christmas, the festive tree journal and all... so whatever holiday you observe, or not, I hope it's filled with friends, memory-making moments and peace. Last night I re-read the message I wrote for the Advent Devotional published by our church and realized how little credence I was assigning to my own words. Written in November. Before, when there weren't a hundred things on my list and a clock ticking. So, climbed in bed with my laptop and I read it again, took a deep breath and... settled.
I moved on to The Rat Race Trap, one of my favorite blogs, and from there a link to an article by Steve Pavlina, about values, with a list of dozens (fortunately many are synonymous). I read slowly down the page and every time I felt a thump in my inner heart I stopped and made note. What I ended up with is a core set of beliefs that I already hold as truth but want to deepen, further, enhance, expand in the coming year. Like adventure, awe, focus, making a difference...
I came out of the Life is a Verb coaching class with a sense of, if not direction, an idea about how to lift any limits that present themselves along the way. My friend and art-group leader, Lani Gerity is several steps ahead of me. She cites a friends' idea that instead of resolutions, we need revolutions; she has paired her attributes with inspiring and amazing art that will help her focus on the qualities she wants to create more of in her life.
Why am I going on about the New Year when tomorrow is Christmas Eve? Perhaps to help me stay focused on the devotional, in the hopes that when the calendar flips I will be in good stead. I consider myself illiterate when it comes to the Bible, embarrassingly so, and don't ordinarily post pieces that I write to share with my Pastor (and great friend, Woody Berry) and church family. But, stepping out onto a limb, I place it at the end of a branch in the hopes that you will find some meaning as you enjoy a wonderful celebration of Christmas, Kwanza or whatever it is that you and yours observe. Peace.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?... Eat what is good. (Isaiah 55:2)
How many of us will settle into the grey January, post-Christmas days with a sense of renewal, abundance and spiritual strength? This may be the easiest of seasons to ‘overextend’ on all that is outwardly good. But can it fall short of reaching the inner emptiness that can hollow out the seemingly fullest of lives?
This scripture asks us to answer to the tendency, even in these times of hardship, to spend, eat, attend and present the perfect holiday picture for all to see. At first glance, it may appear that we have indeed done the right things for the right reasons, but if we do not eat what is good, what is vital for maintaining a spiritually nourishing life, we may arrive at the New Year empty handed.
In preparation for this Christmas, carve out generous moments for prayer and spiritual discernment; make time to care for those among us who seek not material bounty but a hot meal, a clean place to rest and warmth continue on through another day. Pray that God’s guidance and mercy will show us what is truly good to eat.
Dear God, help us stop, be still, find the cause of our inner restlessness. Quench our unceasing appetites with the bounty of your merciful grace and satisfy our deepest longing with all that is good in your eyes. In the name of the one whose birth we await with tender hopes, amen.