With all the things going on today about Christianity we wonder how all of this is going to go. There is one things that we all have to remember. No matter what is going on around us we have to continue to follow the path of Christ. Each of us matters. Each of us can make a difference.
Today I am sad. There is nothing wrong with being sad when things are tragic. We can be sad about a child getting cancer or a best friend in trouble. It’s what we do with the sadness that matters. First we turn to God. Sharing our sadness with God brings his love and peace. Taking the strength that God gives we can help where we can and share his love.
Chronic illness, whether mental or physical, is so draining. It can be a struggle to get through each day. It takes the knowledge that God’s love is with us no matter what. Even if life is difficult it is still important and you have something to share with the world. When I visited sick and shut-ins as a parish nurse they always felt they could do nothing to help anyone. I reminded them that prayers are needed and possible even though ill. There is always something we can do to help heal the world.
As we move into the New Year keep in mind that spirit of Christmas and spread joy, peace, kindness, love and hope.
We are not quick to ask for help. Somehow it makes us think that we are “less-than.” We feel as if we owe something to someone and we struggle to pay it back. We don’t want to be “beholding.” We are so wrong. Asking others for help does not show weakness it shows strength. Everyone needs someone else at sometime in their life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and especially don’t be afraid to ask for prayer. You can pay back what you received by “paying it forward.” That is what God calls us to do.
Have you ever felt so far down that you couldn’t see any way out? This is what happens to those who contemplate or choose suicide. Living in this kind of darkness is miserable. Strangely enough many of the mystics have been there. It is called “the dark night of the soul.” This is when you can’t imagine God being with you. You may not be able to pray at all. Your belief in God is shaken to the core.
Even though I have never been so far down as to contemplate suicide I have been in a place where I can understand that suicide feels like a peaceful solution. When we are in this place I have felt one thing that has brought light into the darkness: the prayers of others. If you feel yourself sliding down into darkness send out a plea for help. Ask others to pray. Know that they are praying and those prayers will be your lifeline out of the abyss.
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
If someone asks you for prayer follow through for you may be someones light.
What are you doing to prepare for the Christ child? There are so many ways that we can focus on the meaning of Christmas. Take advantage of at least one if not more.
Put unused items in a box to be delivered to the needy
Read your Bible every day. A good place to start during Advent is with Isaiah or one of the Gospels about the birth of Christ.
Take time to pray for your needs and the needs of others
Thank God each day for all that he has given you
Befriend someone who is alone
There are many more things to do…but focusing in these last weeks will make Christmas more special
Some people have never heard of Advent. They may not be Christian or espouse any God at all but in this season there is a difference in the air. In the time building up to Christmas there is more focus on the needy and homeless. Collections are made for children, food is collected, the Salvation Army and others receive more help. We are more generous and there is a spirit of compassion abounding. It seems that advent calls for generosity and kindness.Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanakkuh or only the commercial aspects this season changes people The spirit of the holidays is around us and yes, it is something more.
Caring God, help us to carry this spirit into the new year. AMEN
It is so easy to follow the crowd. Our society encourages us to conform. People who don’t follow the group are considered odd. Certainly if we follow Jesus and the things that he did we will be considered odd. After all helping the poor, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless are not high priorities for society as a whole. Yet we are called to do as Jesus did.
God, you want us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Help us to follow his path in spite of societies ideas. AMEN
Nature is perfect, wherever we look, but man always deforms it. ———J.C.F. von Schiller
God made us stewards of the earth. He made us and then expected us to care for everything else. Instead we listened to the part about being in charge and forgot the rest. If we can’t learn to be stewards (dictionary: manage or look after another’s property) before long there will be nothing to manage.
Abundant God, your plan was for us to care for your creation. Help us to do just that. AMEN