Love and Joy, Come to you, –
As we roll from our November holidays into the hustle and bustle of December, it is good to take stock. In our family and in many others (yours included, perhaps), December is the moment in our year where we make time to be with one another and to revel in the opportunity to be a family. I am blessed with a large and extended family that truly enjoys being together – sharing a holiday meal, purchasing the perfect gift and sitting around the table to play board games.
It is also our time to take part in the family rituals that have been nurtured throughout the years. As the family has changed with marriages, births, moves away, it is good to hold on to a few simple activities that we use to identify the holidays. It wouldn’t be Christmas for us if we don’t set aside a weekend before the holiday to bake cookies and other sweet treats. The kitchen is a glorious mess—with about six different family favorites in some stage of preparation or completion at any given moment. Children are underfoot. Vince Gauraldi’s Charlie Brown Christmas is playing in the background. For us, that is the holiday. I am truly blessed, and I rely, in part, on these rituals to keep me grounded and at the same time, awakened.
Our theme for the month is Peace on Earth, which seems to many at this moment in history, an elusive dream. Our world seems to be precariously perched on potential nuclear war, at the whims of unstable leadership. Just this morning, a dear friend from Zimbabwe shared on Facebook an African proverb that says “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” As she watches a potential coup in her homeland, she ponders the fate of her country and the family that remains there.
That message plays all too well in our own backyard, as the “grass” on our national soil is being trampled under the feet of a forces beyond our control. Our world may feel out of whack, with powers and principalities above us and around us creating turbulence, prompting incivility and stoking fear.
If you are one of those individuals who is finding our current state of unease a detriment to enjoyment of this season, I encourage you to read our feature article this month, “Peace on Earth: Conflict Resolutions that Work to Bridge Divides,” by Linda Sechrist. In this season of peace, we can look through the lens of those who spend their time and talents to see that a brighter future is possible for us all. A better world, a better nation, a better community—they are all possible and within our grasp if we only would add our hearts, minds, spirits and voices wider. Hearing and feeling the pain of others, even if we disagree on a list of important issues to us, is a first step. Learning and embracing how healing is happening all around us, is another step. Then showing a new way and sharing the wisdom of peace and reconciliation will bring us closer to peace on Earth.
This December, as I am surrounded by those who love me and those whom I love, I will remember these lessons. I hope that you will do the same.
Good tidings, dear friends,