Christmas is [Almost] Here!
December 20, 2018, 11:41 AM

Christmas is [almost] here!  We've been inundated with commercials and ads for everything from cat socks to Lamborghinis, and with appeals for funds from local, national, and even international organizations.  The seasonal email subscriptions are churning up our inboxes, the greeting cards are flooding into our mailboxes, and the radio is playing non-stop Christmas songs and rehashing the "controversy" over "Baby, It's Cold Outside." 

We also are being assailed by the news - less about Christmas, more about the economy, politics, immigration, hunger, and a looming partial government shutdown.  In other words, the world can get to feeling like everything is spinning out of control, and it all seems really unmanageable and, to say the least, upsetting.

Nonetheless, there are some things we can do, especially at times like these.  I'm calling these "rules" in the sense of a "rule of life," such as has been followed by Christ's disciples since the beginning; guidance for living, guidance for loving, guidance for times of turmoil and times of peace. 

Rule No. 1: BREATHE.  Good.  Now breathe again.  And a third time, and let the air out slooooowwwllllyyyy. 

Rule No. 2: Pray.  This one is what I am using: "Come, Holy Spirit.  I am anxious and stressed and even afraid - at least some of the time. Please help me let this all go, so I can be open to your wisdom.  Thank you."

Rule No. 3: Treat yourself kindly.  Again, my go-to is to stop in at the local chocolatier and buy 2 (and only 2) truffles; one for me, and one for a friend.  What's yours? 

Rule No. 4:  Help someone.  Don't just send money to ER-D or other organization (although they welcome donations, of course), but find a friend and share a cup of coffee, or call up that person you've been meaning to call as soon as you found five minutes for a good long talk.  Or send a letter to your Congressional Representatives.  Once you've breathed, and prayed, and relaxed, then what you need to do to help someone else will come to you.  (That's why you pray for the Holy Spirit to come!) 

This isn't "self-help."  This is living the Christian life.  We are called to live in love, attentiveness, and care.  We are called to care for "the least of these," not to earn our way into heaven, but because God cares for them. 

We are called to love our enemies and pray for those who oppress us - not just for their sakes, but also for our own, lest we become oppressive ourselves. 

We are called to proclaim the Gospel (and as St Francis supposedly said, "when necessary, with words"), not to compel others to Christ from fear, but to invite them into Christ in love.

We are called to forgive "those who trespass against us," not only when they are sorry, but because carrying the burden of anger and resentment is bad for our souls, too.

Rule No. 5:  Remember that God's love for Creation, and for us, is boundless, deep, abiding, and renewing.  It is sufficient for all our needs!

[Read Presiding Bishop Curry's Christmas Message here.]

Much love and many blessings to you all!

Faithfully,  Evelyn+