As my time left on this earth becomes shorter I often reflect upon what really brings me joy and happiness. Around this time year in the past, I usually had a short and long list of things I coveted and desired. But I now struggle to even give basic gift ideas when asked. After all, I already have a large collection of stuff!
Well, I am not ready to kick the bucket yet but material items are not as precious to me now as is inner peace and love of creation. Living in a community of blood-kin, I will always have a feeling of belonging and acceptance. Being part of a church family I will always know I am deeply cared and prayed for. But the most satisfying belief I treasure is knowing that the One who created me loves me and wants what is selfishly going to draw me closer to Him!
We find a similar love in “Good Parenting.” Put a coat on, look both ways before you cross the street, share your toys with your sister, do your homework, don’t pick your nose (or at least not in public), clean up your mess, eat your dinner – there are starving folks in the world, are all examples of things we heard in our developmental years and they are also things we share now with our younger generation. It is not nagging but it is a selfish genuine parental love coming from someone who deeply cares. It comes from someone who wants us to learn to love each other as Jesus has taught us!
We heard in Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae that we must put to death everything in ourselves that prevents us from doing God’s will. “But now ye also put off from yourselves all these things: wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, foul language out of your mouth. Cease lying to one another, since ye have put off the old man with his practice”. [Col. 3:8-9] It is so easy to misplace our sense of direction and especially when we add stress to the Nativity Season. After all, stress is deeply rooted in love of self!
It seems that in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, as we mature we find that time is the most coveted gift we have. Visit the shut-ins, offer gifts or deeds of love, pray for everyone you encounter, especially those that irritate you and spend every last minute of your life preparing for the judgment that will soon follow. “Whenever the Christ, Who is your life, should be made manifest, then also ye shall be made manifest with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry, On account of which things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” [Col. 3:4-6]
I pray that this Nativity season will bring you heavenly peace and joy as we let loose our worldly crutches and selfishly strive to be more Christ-like in our remaining time here and now. And that in every moment someone makes us angry we cease the opportunity to recognize that we are not the most important thing in our lives, but how we selfishly spend our precious time left loving all of God’s creation is.
Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-24-17