A new discussion group began Tuesdays and our first book was "The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Their Favorite Bible Passages" the conversation has been lively. What was brought to the group was a vast array of thoughts and questions regarding the reading for the week. The story I found interesting was "The Womb and the Cistern Well" the story of John the Baptist imprisoned by Herod. What we all discussed was how John must have felt knowing that he was in all likelihood going to die. That he had his doubts about who Jesus was and asks that famous question: "Are you the one or are we to wait for another?" We all agreed being John was not easy. He had worked and toiled in the community to bring people to God only to have his power given to another. Was is given willingly? The writers of the gospels would us believe yes but human nature would have to say otherwise.
I think about this in terms of our own needs to be recognized and wanted. It is not easy to give up control and power for someone else. We all think we are irreplaceable and John's story tells us we are anything but.
It has been far too long between posts, I wish all who read this blessings in 2016. As often happens at the turn of the calendar, we begin to think goals and dreams for the new year. Many of us start with good intentions but, unfortunately life gets in the way; suddenly all of our optimism is gone, leaving us with the same thoughts and behaviors we so desperately want to change. Yesterday I came across a review of Marie Kondo's new book " "Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up" which is a follow up to her wildly successful book "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I read the first book and was intrigued by her thoughts on what makes for an organized happy life.
Her discussion of how we treat our things and our homes while for some is odd, I find it inspiring. Kondo suggests when we return home, we tell our house we are happy to be home. Say it out loud! We thank everything we use for what it has done for us throughout the day. She contends we keep nothing that does not spark joy, hence the title of her second book. I was oddly comforted by the notion of thanking my things. So often I rush around without reflecting on how fortunate I am, although I do tell my car, the "Green Hornet" that I love her.
Kondo forces us to come face to face with what we have and how gratitude does not have to be a laborious or rote exercise. But, one where we pause and give thanks for all that is in our lives which gives comfort and stability. I feel calm just reading those few paragraphs at the end of her book and perhaps this is one small change I can make to bring serenity and happiness to my home. Her idea is one which make for a happy life: simply giving thanks for all that I have.
Here we stand on the cusp of Christmas Day. This is for Christians I believe our New Year. For some this may sound a bit odd because according to the liturgical calendar the first Sunday in Advent is the start of our year. But I believe it is tomorrow for the simple reason that each year we put our faith in the birth of a child born over 2000 years ago. We hope and pray that this will be the year when peace will reign on the earth and a new era of love and generosity will begin. It is this faith in the birth of Jesus which keeps us coming back to the story and the promise that God has made: his kingdom will have no end and that kingdom is open to all of us whoever we may be.
My Christmas prayer is that we all find peace and joy this season as we renew our faith in the birth of God.
Merry Christmas and God's Blessings!