Before Christmas Memories Fade

by | Jan 8, 2015 | 8 Persecuted

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).
Before holiday memories fade, let’s review the lessons and leadings of the Spirit this season.  Reflect on the graces and blessings, great and small.  Consider what God told you through those events.  Savor God’s love, and let the memories open your heart a little more to receive it.
Reflect also on the anguish of the season, for the Spirit offers lessons there too.  Whether the fragmentation of feeling pulled this way and that, the loneliness of feeling like you don’t fit in with the revelers, or the grief over absent loved ones, reflect on those difficult times, and respect your suffering.  Reflect on your vulnerability in solidarity with the Child.  Reflect on your pain in solidarity with the Crucified Son.
Who were your enemies, especially the inner demons that niggle and pounce at your sense of worth?  There may be outer enemies, people dead set on dampening your joy, but the inner enemies stand within point-blank range of your heart.  How did they do their dirty work?  What disguises did they wear?
They deal in half-truths, often playing a true card and following with a bluff.  Perhaps you don’t come home at night to a traditional family setting, but what’s this notion that you must not be cut out for love?  Perhaps you don’t have that special someone with whom to share the season, but what’s this notion that your feelings don’t count?  Perhaps you don’t suffer as much as the people in Syria, Ferguson, or the cancer ward, but does that mean you should buck up and refuse compassion for your loneliness?
The inner enemies include irrational thoughts and twisted childhood learning to unlearn in therapy, but they are more than that.  They issue from an energy source poised to discourage your openness to grace, your acceptance of God’s love like a little child.  They may infiltrate your mind, but they are not you.  You are God’s beloved, and the demons will not prevail.  God will break through.
2013-08-01 20.52.34Reflect on how God broke through in this Advent season.  Christmas is about the Holy Spirit breaking through in the coming of God’s Son.  It happens on cosmic, political, family, and personal scales.  Celebrate Christmas on the scale where you suffered most, perhaps over the violence and injustice in Ferguson or the polarization in our political and economic life, perhaps in the fracturing and polluting of the environment or in the sorrow you keep in solitude.  If you cannot recall God breaking through, open your heart.  Celebrate Christmas now.  It’s not too late.  The calendar does not confine the child’s coming, and the enemy does not shackle Christ for long.  God will prevail.

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