Monday, November 30, 2015
First Week of Advent from the Underside: How Will You Prepare?
If you live in the US, you celebrate Christmas, even if you aren’t religious, or a Jewish or are Buddhist or are Whatever. Given our national obsession with making money at of the Birth of Jesus, even if you cover at work so your Christian friends can be with their families or eat Chinese food and go to the movies, your life here in the US is different in some way on the 25th of December.
We are currently in the season of preparation for Christmas. If you follow the recommendations of the merchants, you are making shopping and gift lists and checking them twice and probably not caring a whit who’s been naughty or nice.
In the Christian Church this season of preparation and waiting for Christmas is called the Advent Season. During the four weeks preceding Christmas, Christians wait in hopeful expectation, prepare spiritually for the birth of Jesus. It is common for Christians to mark the days with spiritual practices intended to help them open their hearts and minds in new ways to receive the gifts of new life, hope, and salvation born into the world in the Holy Child of Bethlehem.
Whether or not you self-identify as religious or claim Christianity as your own, you can still spend some time in this season of preparation for Christmas to prepare spiritually for the celebration on the 25th.
The birth of Jesus celebrates hope, love and joy born anew into the world.
Preparing for Love: Identify and act on a concrete way you can increase love in your life this week. Or, perhaps you can reconnect with friend you haven’t talked with in a while, give an extra dollar in the Salvation Army kettle, or try to be understanding in a relationship where you feel not all that understood….
Preparing for hope: Think back over your life to a time when you were faced with overwhelming odds that you overcame over time. What did you learn about own strength and resilience that you hadn’t know before. Now, spend some time thinking about a difficulty you’re currently facing, recommit to that struggle with renewed hope in the reaffirmation of the depths and grace of your own resilience.
Preparing for salvation: Think about the Holy, the Divine, God as you have come to know the Sacred in your life. Call to your mind’s eye an image that speaks to you of this reality. And, breathe. Relax into the Presence of grace and compassion, safety and peace. Breathe. Relax. Feel at home and be grateful. Be grateful for your day, for the big and little thing, for the people and pets, for the blessing of the good and the wisdom gained from the bad. Think about the Holy, the Divine, God as you have come to know the Sacred in your life. Be grateful and say, Amen.