It is so hard to find a moment to breathe in the middle of this season. Shopping, events, travel all compete with our regularly scheduled calendars. How do we find the center? Where do we draw the energy to make it through the holidays, not just surviving but joyful?
Faith that brings Peace
Faith is a journey that begins for many with a recognition of the beauty of the story. The story that God made humanity in his image. The story that God wants to know and be known by his creation. The story that we can encounter the God of the universe because God keeps reaching out to us. The story of Christmas is that God stepped out of eternity and lived in human flesh.
It is a story of connection and restoration. It is a story of hope in the darkest times. It is a story that is meant to bring peace to our hearts.
Love that brings Equality
Love is the key. Love looks beyond labels and social stigma to see the spark of divine image that burns in each soul. Love unwraps the anxiety, the dark moods, the ill-humor that clothes the wounded heart to see the beauty within. Love nurtures the good, illuminates the positive, and gently clears away the grime so that healing can begin.
This is how I want to be loved, how we all long to be loved. This is the love we must offer at Christmas.
Community that shapes Identity
We are all individuals, but we all need others as well. We find out who we are by what is reflected back to us in the faces of those who love us. In our families, our parents first show us that we are priceless as they gaze at our newborn wrinkly faces with joy. In our friendships, we hear how great we sing, or how fast we run, or how we are good listeners. In our grown-up lives, it can be hard to find good reflectors, but the need is still there. Find your community, or begin to create one by offering your friendship to others.
Joining together with others in shared friendship and love brings support in hard times and people to celebrate in good times.
Contributing in ways that demonstrate Integrity
It is easy to drop a quarter in a red kettle and feel we have done our part. When we take a moment to reflect, we may find that it falls short of what we value and cherish. Ask yourself what it is that you long to see flourish in the world around you. Is it justice, peace, plenty for everyone? Look for a way to contribute that builds those values. Send a letter to a soldier. Spend an hour at a peace vigil. Serve by wrapping toys for kids in need.
Giving in a way that aligns with your heart brings joy and energizes your soul.
Rest that comes from choosing Simplicity
Your life cannot be measured by how busy your schedule is or how full your closet is no matter what our culture of exhaustion may promote. You are more than your overtime, your toys, and your (or your kids) activities. It is great for life to be full in a way that brings richness. If your schedule is sucking the life out of you, it is time to simplify. If your stuff is overwhelming you, it is time to simplify. Create space in your schedule, carve out some empty time and then don’t fill it. Clear out a drawer or shelf or closet in your house, and then don’t fill it. We could all use more empty space, less to worry about or keep track of and maintain.
Trusting, connecting, giving, resting, all ways to stay sane any time of year.
Staying Grounded at Christmas, now that is ReFreshing!