The Season of Light:
The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Last Day in the Year of Our Lord 2009
1 John 2:18-21 ("...many antichrists have appeared, thus we know it is the last hour")
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13 (The Lord comes to rule the earth)
John 1:1-18 ("In the beginning was the Word...and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw his glory")
Attention, Kmart shoppers: Christmas is not over! No, it only started December 25. We are now in the other part of the Season of Light, the tough part.
Why is it so tough? Didn't we do all we could over the better part of five weeks to get ready for it? Did we not drool enough over all the decorations, light displays, and the plethora of food and sweets? Of course we did.
Most of us ruffled through ads, wrestled through stores, and while we the people might not have gotten skinnier, I'm willing to bet some of our credit cards are noticeably, physically thinner; and our bank balances have gone down, even if our weight may be up a bit. I can't imagine anyone actually spent the $87,400 plus change on the cost of gifts listed in The Twelve Days of Christmas, but I have been known to be wrong. And there are some single gifts in our modern day priced higher than all the drummers, rings, and birds.
I'm not complaining. The Season of Light is a time when we're supposed to open our hearts - and most times that does lead to opening our wallets. But the point of this part of the season - now that radio stations have stopped playing carols and the decorations are coming down faster than they went up - is that our hearts remain open to Emmanuel, "God with(in) us." That could be among the origins of the legendary "New Year's Resolutions." You know - those things for which goals are set on January 1 to accomplish that you will likely abandon by February.
One of my biggest problems is when I attempt something (for example, losing weight - but it's not the only thing) I have this impression that it's something I have to do all by myself. If I find a way to do things with someone else, the change in life pattern becomes much easier. Take, for example, time for prayer. It should be something I am presupposed to do, and have the discipline. I don't. However, quite out of the blue in this year about to end, I was led to daily podcasts of the Divine Office and Bible readings for Mass. I set my alarm to wake me with one of these podcasts, and try to time the others at various points during my day. If I can walk while I pray any of the others, so much the better.
We have a degree of exercise and fitness equipment at home, and I must try to make better use of them alongside my family this year instead of watching the nth rerun of some TV show I happen to like (and I manage to find one every night).
One resolution is being made that will be a tough one to meet, but meet it we must - in the coming year our family will find a new home. There are no major problems with where we are, but there are several reasons when added together make this important. It will take time and a lot of energy, and a lot of hope.
Other things that are in flux in the year ahead are the stuff of future blogging. All I can say is it's going to be one heckuva ride. Once upon a time I would have thought that by 55 the ride would be slowing down. Forget that noise. However, I can honestly say that I'm looking forward to the ride so much that the accompanying challenges don't seem to be as big as I would have put them at other points in life.
Last Sunday it was pointed out that Joseph (Mary's husband and the stepfather of Jesus) was never quoted as saying anything in all the places in the Gospels (mainly Matthew and Luke) where he is mentioned. Still, the narrative clearly shows that he was a man of faith and action, a model for husbands and fathers today. (As long as nobody buries me upside down in order to buy or sell a house, I think we're okay.)
For all the doom and gloom that was spoken about or presented itself in 2009, for all the running around in circles, for all the endless debate and dragging feet through litigation that hallmarks society, in spite of the specter of global warming and the prophecies claiming the world will end any day now (latest date: 12/21/2012), there is still love, joy, hope, and light...
..."and a partridge in a pear tree."
Farewell, 2009; Welcome, 2010! May we bear more light than diffuse it as we move forward, ever forward.