GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection
#68 — December 1, 2017
It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.
— Agnes M. Pharo
Greetings, Inspired Seekers!
How did we get to the end of 2017 already? It seems like just yesterday we were organizing our calendars and toasting in the New Year. And yet, here we are.
This is the time of year for great storytelling. We share stories of the birth of the Christ Child, the miracle of the oil symbolized by the lighting of the Menorah, the burning of the Yule log and the strengths represented by the Kwanzaa candles.
It is also the time of year that we sit with friends and share our stories of the past year; stories of success and laughter, of good fortune and progress. And, we share the stories of loss and grief, of struggles and dreams that seem to have vanished in the smoke of holiday candles.
My wish for all us is that we take a moment to carefully reflect upon the stories we tell and believe, deep within, that we are bigger than most of those tales. Whether the stories are good or bad, whether they bring smiles or tears, we are bigger than all of them. We are filled and surrounded by mercy and grace, and both help us to understand that the stories represent only a small part of who we are on this earth. They might shape us, but they do not define us. Unless we allow them to do so. And mercy and grace are the antidote for that. They create bigness.
The parties and shopping that often fill these days are only a part of this season; let us make certain that they do not distract us from the faith - whichever tradition we follow - that leads us, for there is the blessing, there is the sanctuary. That faith is what helps us through all the times of our lives and allows us to trust even when the rest of the world would tell us otherwise. It is faith that keeps us fueled and fully present while, at the same time, filled with hope. And, for many who are facing a difficult holiday season, this is where grace and mercy work their sacred power.
And so, dear friends, if this is a joyous season or a jarring one, or a season filled with ambiguity for you, my Christmas prayer is that your heart be filled with the peace that only faith can give, that your soul be comforted by the birth, the candles or the flames, and that you feel God's presence at those moments when you need it most.
Monthly Affirmation: Mercy and Grace are with me today and always.
The Reverend Dr. Deborah Darlington wishes people of all faiths a joyous and peaceful holiday season that delights the heart and calms the spirit. She can be reached at GraceMatters@TheSpaceForGrace.com.