I can think of no better greeting for Christmas than the blessing of Joyce Rupp as so it is also my blessing for you this year.
A Christmas Blessing
May there be harmony in all your relationships.
May sharp words, envious thoughts, and hostile feelings be dissolved.
May you give and receive love generously. May this love echo
in your heart like the joy of church bells on a clear winter day.
May each person who comes into your life be greeted as another Christ.
May the honor given the Babe of Bethlehem be that
which you extend to every guest who enters your presence.
May the hope of this sacred season settle in your soul. May it be for you a foundation of courage when times of distress occupy your inner land.
May the wonder and awe that fills the eyes of children be awakened
within you. May it lead you to renewed awareness and appreciation
of whatever you too easily take for granted.
May the bonds of love for one another be strengthened as you gather
with your family and friends around the table of festivity and nourishment.
May you daily open the gift of your life and be grateful
for the hidden treasures it contains.
May you keep your eye on the Star within you and trust
this Luminescent Presence to guide and direct you each day.
May you go often to the Bethlehem of your heart and visit the One
who offers you peace. May you bring this peace into our world.
Adapted from Joyce Rupp’s Out of the Ordinary
The stores are dressed for Christmas shopping hoping to attract the cash flow they need to stay open during this financial crunch.
It is difficult to focus on Advent in a culture so focused on gifting-giving and parties. I wonder what this will mean for us in a year when over 25,000 homes have foreclosed and when so many people have lost their jobs and now struggle to meet their financial commitments. Many people have seen ½ of their financial portfolios disappear in the financial crisis hitting our country.
Maybe all of this will give us a year to focus on Advent – that time of quiet reflection in preparation of our hearts, minds and souls for Christmas. I think of the culture 2000 years ago in the middle-east when the Jewish people were anticipating a Messiah – one who would come to liberate them from the oppression of their political and economic burdens. They too wanted a leader who would restore them to being a powerful influence in their world.
I find myself wondering “what are we waiting for?” “What expectations do we have this year?” The gift of Christmas has already come into our world. Emmanuel is indeed with us already. The Gift that is Christmas is already among us. Perhaps this Advent waiting is more an experience of awakening to what has already happened. And so my questions are now ‘What are we seeking?” “Where are we looking?” “How can my awakening during Advent transform the world in which I live?”
I invite us to ponder these questions, not just with our minds, but with our hearts as we journey into and through this Advent Season.