There is always the challenge this time of year to remember what all of the beautiful celebrations are really about. We all get caught up in the hurry, the bustle, the parties… even the very real joy of the season can be distracting.
Earlier we posted some suggestions for keeping Christ in Christmas. Today we offer a thought for a simple activity that you can do alone or with your family. It will help you to become more grounded in the reverence that is the heart of the season.
It really is as simple as taking a walk… but a very special walk. Instead of just going out & strolling, it is a walk of mindfulness of the message of Christ.
It begins when you make the decision. Don’t let this walk just happen off the cuff, but rather take some time to think about what you are going to do, where you are doing to walk, whether you wish to be alone, with family or with friends.
Once you have your walk scheduled, when you begin it, start with take a breath, being aware of the miracle that that simple breath is. The air going in & out of your body, nourishing you, giving you strength, & calming you.
Now look around at where you are right now. Really look, even if you are in your own home. Most of us go through life on a sort of auto-pilot, barely aware of our surroundings. So take a moment to notice the details. Appreciate the small things in your surroundings. See the beauty in each of them.
Now begin your walk. Walk slowly & notice things that you usually ignore or take for granted. Stop & really focus on something, even something as simple as a small flower, a rock, a tree. Name that thing as what it is & then describe it to yourself. This will help you look more closely, see more, appreciate more. Be in gratitude for the thing itself & for each aspect of it. Know that your gratitude & appreciation is appreciated by God, who made each small thing for us. Let your heart settle in adoration of Jesus & His great gift to us… a gift so wonderful, so complex, that we in our hurry miss so much of it, but it is always there for us.
Continue your walk, allowing things to catch your attention. Don’t try to force anything, just when something comes to your notice, stop & pay it close attention. This pausing in our daily lives can make a huge difference in our personal peace & in our relationship with God.
When you are done with your walk, sit quietly for a few minutes & review all that you have seen & all that you have learned. If you walked with someone else, you may want to share your experiences. Use the calm awareness that the walk has produced to deepen your awareness of all of the gifts of God.
May your Christmas be joyous in the sight of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.