Friday, December 13, 2013

Tis the Season, to be crazy! Falalalala...

I love the Christmas season and all the sights and sounds wrapped around it.  Millions of people around the world are busy preparing for the big day.  Trees are being decorated, not to mention all the other decorations inside and outside of our homes and businesses.  Christmas carols play on the radio and excitement continues to grow.  The arrival of a notable person, thing or event is the definition of advent.  There is no doubt that this is the perfect definition for Christmas.  Advent is also the name of the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day in the Christian Church.  The Advent season is the beginning of the liturgical year, a time to reflect on the miracle of the past and also to anticipate a second coming of Jesus, but it is not our homes and businesses that we are to prepare, it is ourselves.  Sitting in church last Sunday and listening to the gospel reading about John the Baptist,  I was stuck with the stark contrast of how we are to prepare spiritually vs. how we actually prepare for the same day.
I still remember the magic of Christmas as a child and have relived it with my children.  The unbridled joy of Christmas morning when children storm the living room to see what gifts Santa has brought them.  The power of giving and witnessing the impact of the gifts in others is a great thing.  By no means would I ever want to diminish this in any way and yet there is the preparation and excitement on the spiritual side as well and I think there is a lot to learn on that side.  While we busy ourselves with decorating our homes as outward signs of the big day, spiritually we are to prepare ourselves by clearing the path for our relationship with Jesus.  So, without getting into a theological debate about the differences of various doctrines lets focus on the common ground in Christianity.  I believe we can all agree that we are to love god with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  To be further inclusive all of the major religions have some form of the golden rule and the desire for inner peace.  Basically that we are to enjoy a full relationship with God and with those around us. Where it gets interesting is the requirements to keep this relationship active.  There isn't a long list of rules to comply with, there are simply the two mentioned above and if you need further clarification you can read the ten commandments.  Very simple and easy rules that will allow for a complete relationship.  So, why then does it seem so difficult?  Why is there a constant call to change our ways and the need to continually prepare ourselves?  I find it interesting that there seems to be a battle just to keep any focus on the spiritual aspect of the season.  I believe it is the same reason that we struggle with our physical and mental wellness as well.  It is our free will and with it the ability to choose. 
We can either accept the responsibility for our decisions or we can abdicate it to others or to being a victim of the past.   We have the ability to determine the reason for Christmas or we can allow society to dictate it. We are constantly bombarded by the message of 'instant gratification' if you want it or you enjoy it then you should have it and yet the spiritual side of Christmas has nothing to do with the external sights of trees, lights, decorations and presents to the contrary it has everything to do with what's happening internally.   There is no doubt that it has become a chaotic time with a seemingly endless list of things to be done in order to be ready for the big day BUT why does it have to be this way?  In all the chaos of the season do we take time to prepare ourselves spiritually?  Can we find some quiet time to make sure our internal house is prepared to allow for a full relationship with God.  What if instead of feeding into the chaos we decided instead to simplify our lives and to place the focus on building our relationship with God and with our neighbors and not through material gifts but instead gifts of our time and attention?  When we get to far into the 'doing mode' we sacrifice time in the 'being mode'  where we are tuned in to all of those around us and to our own talents.   I truly believe that our overall wellness is only attainable when we enjoy physical, mental and spiritual health. 
As we continue to prepare for the coming of Christmas, take time to consider your mental and spiritual health and also remember your physical health.  I know it has become standard practice to sacrifice our physical health to Christmas Parties and the endless assortment of food and treats and I agree it is a lot of fun but realize the additional calories add up so counterbalance it with activity.  Strange how some simple rules can make a big impact on our physical health.  I have this sudden feeling of deja vu, like we've talked about this. 
Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year!

 Product Details

Life Pioneers: The Edge of Possibility! by Tim Terrio (Oct 18, 2013)    

Available on Amazon and at All TERRIO Physical Therapy-Fitness locations.

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