Monthly Archives: January 2018

There and back again…

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Here we are a week past the official holiday season, and I’m trying to get back to my health pursuits. I accomplished my goal of maintaining through the holidays and somehow lost 1 1/2 pounds. Yesterday , I started back in with recording my food on My Fitness Pal (which is a great app, btw). I also meandered around Kroger for about two hours trying to buy healthy foods and restock my cupboards after they were decimated by holiday celebrations. So, that slow walk counted as exercise …yay! 😉

What didn’t go so well yesterday was trying to lower my carbs. After I input my breakfast into my app, I realized my two pieces of 100% whole wheat toast , with honey on one piece , exceeded my carb goal for the day. That left me fretting about everything I wanted to eat the rest of the day, knowing that even veggies have carbs, and of course, fruit has even more, being nature’s candy and all. By the time I arrived at Kroger, I relented and had a latte from Starbucks as I shopped. Then, as I unpacked groceries, I ate pnut butter pretzels and ended up having waffles before bed.

So , I reluctantly input all my food to My fitness Pal. Thankfully, my walk through the store offset my calories so I wasn’t too much over my calorie goal, but as for carbs, I blew it. Even though I grasp the biological facts of habits and being addicted , I don’t know if I will ever fully comprehend the attachment people can have to carbs, the emotional comfort they give. But, the truth is, the “struggle is real.”

All that being said, I was feeling a bit defeated last night, until I started flitting through Instagram and Twitter. Several posts reminded me that just because I’m not perfect , it doesn’t mean I’m not trying to change, pursuing transformation , still open to learning and growing and trying.

So, today I started again, or I continued. Today will be better than yesterday, and actually, yesterday was way better than the day before it…..

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Twelfth Night

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There are many traditions for the twelfth day of Christmas with its twelve drummers drumming. You can read all about them here:    https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/12daysofchristmas.shtml

One aspect that is highlighted in many of the traditions for twelfth night has to do with turning things a bit upside down by allowing the “lowly” to “rule over” the higher class citizens for the night.  This intrigued me because of how it gave witness to Jesus leaving His Father’s world to come to Earth to be with us, to serve as our servant leader, to die that we might have life.  It all comes back to Jesus, and Epiphany is no different.

January 6, today, is Epiphany.  I wanted to explain this better here, but my words would be weak compared to the following reading I received in my email today.  So, I will close my focus on the Twelve Days of Christmas with the following in hopes that it will impact you in the way it has me.  I’ve been pondering the Light celebrated on Epiphany in new ways for the last year, and now, I pray the same may be true for you.  May we be reminded anew and transformed as we seek more Light and Life and Truth in our lives, as we seek the Christ who came for ALL people, and may we all experience more JOY as a result of our seeking…..For God has said that “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:13-14)….may we find more and more and more of Him.

The Magi 

05 Jan 2018

THE MAGI COME ASKING, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” Tradition has it that there were three Magi, probably because the Bible account names three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh). The names used for these Magi are Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, and tradition also says that they are of three different ethnic groups, signifying that Christ comes not just for one nation but for all people. In fact, that is what we celebrate in January at Epiphany: Jesus Christ as the Light of the world. We celebrate Christ as Light to the whole world, not as the Light to one small group in the world.

Many Christians mark Epiphany in only cursory ways, as if everything about Christmas ends at midnight on December 25. We do seem in a hurry sometimes to put away Christmas. … Most of us stop playing Christmas music, too, as if the songs are inappropriate at any other time of the year. …

Commentators have said we seem in a hurry after Christmas to box up once again our patience, our tolerance, our generosity and put them back in the attic, as if we can sustain good behavior for a few weeks but wouldn’t want to risk making it a way of life. We may also put away our willingness to give a bit more, to be more forgiving, even to be more patient in traffic as we often are during the holidays. Perhaps we even box up our desires to hope and our openness to miracles and mystery, as if the messages of the Christmas stories can’t quite survive the rigors of real life in the rest of the year. The Magi call us to continue our observance of Christ’s coming after December is over.

– Mary Lou Redding
WHILE WE WAIT: Living the Questions of Advent

From pages 93-94 of WHILE WE WAIT: Living the Questions of Advent by Mary Lou Redding. Copyright (c) 2002 by Mary Lou Redding. Used with permission of The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

 

While We Wait

Eleven pipers piping?

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Yes, actually, this is one of the few symbols that make sense to me in the song about the 12 days of Christmas.  The eleven pipers represent the 11 faithful disciples.  They remained true and spread the good news about Christ throughout their world at that time.  They were like pipers piping, singing the Gospel story to all who would hear, following Jesus’ command to tell the good news to the ends of the Earth.

Another example of this is found in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint, who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. Day 11, January 4th, celebrates her, and in the past it also celebrated the feast of Saint Simon Stylites (who lived on a small platform on the top of a pillar for 37 years!).

The point of all these celebrations and remembrances is Christ being the Light of the world , for all people. The Twelve Days of Christmas is supposed to bring focus to those who have played very significant parts in spreading God’s Light. Tomorrow is 12th night, the day before Epiphany, Jan 5….12 drummers drumming…

January 1,2, and 3…

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I haven’t kept up with this as I intended, and it’s because no matter how much brighter the Light may grow, darkness always tries to overcome it. There have been unexpected, difficult moments and happenings the last couple days. My attention has been unfocused, my heart heavy and my anxiety high. Yet, the Light is ever present, ever faithfully shining.

January 1, the 8th day of Christmas, traditionally celebrates Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the 8 maids a milking represent the 8 Beattitides. The 9th day gives us the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit in the guise of nine ladies dancing. This day, Jan 2, honors St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nazianzen, both from the 4th century.

All of this celebrating is leading us closer and closer to Epiphany, the revelation of Christ to the Magi, said to be the first Gentiles who came seeking Christ. The 10th day of Christmas is brighter still as it memorializes the day Jesus would have been officially named in the Temple, thus fulfilling what the angel told Mary. It seems fitting that the 10 lords a leaping stand for the 10 commandments since Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets.

Though my heart is heavy with cares of this world, I have a joy that is growing as I learn more and more about these celebrations of the true 12 days of Christmas. God’s Light burns ever brighter in my Spirit.

On the 7th day of Christmas, it was New Year’s Eve…

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As I closed out 2017 today, I was pondering again the significance of Epiphany, for me in 2017, and also in general. This focus of learning about the 12 days of Christmas leading up to Epiphany is impacting me in unexpected ways.

The 7th day, 12/31, is set as a day that honored one of the earliest Popes, Pope Sylvester, from the 4th century. Also, the seven swans a swimming is said to represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, serving , teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, and mercy.

All in all, I have found that concentrating on learning about this has helped me be better prepared for the start of this new year, and I’m anticipating Epiphany with a fresh perspective. I’m looking forward to even more of God’s Light being revealed to me in this new year, as well as being used in the Kingdom to spread more of that Light.

I find that in the darkness of winter, I’m experiencing more joy, hope and brightness than I have in as many years as I can remember, of my many years struggling with seasonal affective disorder. I believe that purposefully pursuing joy and light in this past year, fighting for it even on the hard days, has made a huge difference. Life isn’t perfect, but it is much better than a year ago. I thank God for His grace, Light, and Truth, without which I would be utterly lost.

Grace and peace…and Happy New Year!!🎊🎈🎆 🎉🎇