Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the Stillness there is Light.

If you're looking for a treatise on the history and customs of Christmas, this year, you need to go back to my December, 2008 blogs. Go ahead, just scroll back there. You'll find customs and history and the reason why I have always felt that the people of the north, my ancestors, had real reasons to celebrate even before they became Christians.

This is the time for parties and eggnog and decorating. For preparing gifts and making the special holiday foods. For wearing ridiculous holiday ties and sweaters and drinking too much. For office parties and neighborhood gatherings and attending more events in a single week than should be human. It's noisy and stressful and mostly materialistic. I don't know about you, but come December every year, all of this rushing around gets me rather melancholy. Until this year I'm not sure I figured out why that is.

But this year I've been contemplating that which is the opposite of what most of us experience; stillness. Stillness has a relationship to how we see celebration, service, humanity and destiny. I truly think that the spiral path of stillness can help us find and follow our own light.

Don't get me wrong -- I love a party as well as the next person. And being a marketing refuge, I have no business putting down all that spending and wrapping! It's just that in all the secular goings-on I feel a disconnect. As if all of this is just a frantic cover-up, a poor replacement, for the light that makes me an authentic being. Do you?

Jacquelyn Small has noted that “We are not human being trying to be spiritual. We are spiritual beings trying to be human.”

With all the noise and rushing around at this time of year – how can we meld the human and spiritual halves of ourselves? A few weeks ago attending a morning church service, I was reminded that stillness and silence are relatives. That “silence is the cessation of sound: stillness is the cessation of movement.” Interestingly, stillness appears to be something that both the Good Book and most therapists advocate to put all your parts back together; that it is good to let the “still, small voice” of calm take over sometimes.

At this time of year as we anticipate what is to come on Christmas day, it might be good, as Psalm 37:7 says, “to be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”

Stillness is hard when much of what is around us is rushed and frantic and the news is dark. I know, because I've tried practicing stillness. Like so many folks, I could use a job and an income and a good health care bill and just some hopeful news. In an ADHD world, stillness takes discipline.

But I have made a discovery about stillness. It helps me see more clearly, no matter how dark the world is around me. As Eleanor Roosevelt expressed it ~ “It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

©2009 Jan Johnson Wondra

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