I am a fan of Eggnog. I love the taste, the texture, the aroma. I love everything about Eggnog. My favorite brand is actually the generic HEB brand. Light Eggnog is too thin, brand name Eggnog is too thick, and Soy Nog - just no. What is my problem with Eggnog then? I am lactose intolerant.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
The universe has thrown many distractions our way this year as Christmas approaches. The media latches onto every big story, pumping them for everything they have, blowing them up on our TV screens, on the radio, on our computers. Everywhere we look, there they are. For just a moment, disconnect, find some peace, and focus on what this season is really about.
Christmas is coming. Regardless of the manner in which you participate - be it religious or secular - the roots of the Christmas holiday still stem from the same source - love. For Christians, the Christmas holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus. As St. John the Devine teaches in the Gospel "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son." This gift of love is seen as the first Christmas gift and is supposed to be the model for our gift giving.
Santa Claus is modeled off the legend of St. Nicholas, a fourth century Greek Bishop living in modern day Turkey. St. Nicholas was known for his giving heart. One story, the one most likely to be based on historical fact, has St. Nick giving a bag of gold to a family three times - each the night before their three daughters come of age. St. Nick even goes so far to avoid recognition he drops a bag of gold down the chimney, landing it in a stocking hung to dry.
Whether you celebrate Christmas because of Jesus or simply to follow the gift giving of a fourth century saint, the idea behind the gifting still holds. Our gifts are supposed to be acts of love.
With more information about the Newtown, Connecticut shootings arriving every day, we might tend to focus on the plight of man instead of the hope portrayed in the Christmas message. While I can understand our concern at the failings of our society and the need for discussion on how to prevent such events from occurring again, if viewed from an incorrect position, our view of this Christmas season will definitely be skewed. As I suggested in Following the Ripples, keep your heart and soul set on love.
The shootings give us an opportunity to give a Christmas sized gift as well. The country is expending so much energy right now in figuring out how to prevent future mass killings. Some say limit guns, some say give everyone guns. Some focus on mental health care, some on video games. Everyone knows something needs to be done, but there is no consensus on the next step. Christmas is the perfect message and offers the perfect solution. We must follow the examples of the Bible and St. Nicholas - give love freely. Root every action in love. Teach love to your children through every thought and action. Love yourself, your neighbor, your community, etc.
A gift of love can change the world more than we can know. With so much attention on the so-called Mayan apocalypse, all our thoughts were on whether or not the world would end. Perhaps the end of the age was so much more simple than we thought. Maybe the end of the calendar only signaled a change in the way humans deal with each other. Perhaps now, we will choose to act through love in everything.
This Christmas, remember what is important. As the bumper sticker proclaims - "remember the reason for the season." That reason, ultimately, is love.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
In a world where every violent tragedy is painted as a sign of humanity’s degradation and certain failure, I choose to withhold judgement - not of the killer, but of humanity. The act of murder is vile and disgusting; our reaction to this particular tragedy is heightened because of the innocence of the young victims and the heroism of the adults. Instead of allowing ourselves to become inundated with the hateful feeling engendered by this vicious act, I suggest we do something entirely opposite.
After a disturbance on water's surface, ripples travel until the energy is counteracted by an equal force, or until the energy has been absorbed by the lake itself.
A body of water whose surface is disturbed can never truly reflect that which is above it. Only by creating perfect stillness, absent of ripples, can a perfect reflection occur. The more we can help to buffer any ripples that do occur, the closer we as individuals, and we as a race, can get to perfect stillness. The way to find that stillness is to exist in a constant state of love, neutralizing the negative energy sent out from ripples such as the one we experienced recently.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
The spirit of the Christmas season engenders a vast range of emotions. Excitement blooms as trees claim their traditional places, anticipation for Christmas morning permeates the young and the old, anxiety festers at the state of the checkbook, melancholy lingers for those Christmases past. Odd as it is, just yesterday the Christmas season delivered a new, unfamiliar emotion to me - fear.
I am not normally a fearful person, regardless of the season. I work to keep an even keel, avoiding situations that might encourage a fear response, staying centered emotionally when presented with a fear inducing problem. Fear is such a negative emotion, I avoid inviting it into my life. In fact, I actively pursue the opposites of fear - calm certainty, joyful appreciation, loving anticipation of the uncertain. In my experience, these are much better approaches to living life.