Hi everybody, Happy New Year; and for those who celebrate various Orthodox dates of Christmas, as we do in our household, Merry Christmas!!
As I've mentioned before, in our household Christmas is celebrated from December 5th all the way to January 13th.
You see, my wife's father was Hungarian, and so she is half Hun, the rest is mostly Irish with a bit of French thrown in. Well to me, she's Hun-ey. So, we start to celebrate by decorating, singing carols, and baking Christmas treats around the 5th of December. It's great to get a jump on all that stuff, not to mention having an early reminder of gift preparation, you know buying or making something personal.
Then there's the obvious December 25th date to celebrate Christ's birth and all. The one most everyone in our culture gets involved in, one way or another.
Then, in addition, my natural father was Ukrainian, so I am half Uke, the rest is mostly Brit, and my adopted Mohawk Dad's influence rests in there as well. Man we're all such a wonderful blend of people aren't we!
So we celebrate the Ukrainian date for Christmas, which starts unofficially on its Christmas eve, January 6th. Christmas day is the 7th and the whole thing lasts until January 13th.
It may seem like a bit much, to some, but it creates a season of gratefulness to our Lord, and that we appreciate. It lasts into and over shadows our Western New Year’s celebration and the resolutions that go with it.
The one thing reinforced through all of this, for us, is the idea of persistence in starting anew, of not growing weary of intending to do well, regardless of the things that try to challenge that. Now, I hope you get my meaning here, I'm not just talking about starting again, down the same path of habits and discarded will power. Really, what new inner resources do we have we didn’t have before, to master an old expectation. Oh sure, a new resolve here and a new attempt there, here a new, there a new, every where a new new, Old MacDonald, oops, I digress. Man... the force of habit eh.
Let's try to put this thought together. Just think, stubbornness, with it's dig-in-your-heals and refusal-to-look-again manner, when turned positive, is persistence, focus and a force for good. Weariness turned inside out, is willingness, reflection and rest. If we throw off the discouraging weight of old expectations and let ourselves 'realize' maybe there's a bigger puzzle we fit in, those expectations don’t really fit, and therefore are good ones to let go, this may end that weariness. When we allow re-evaluation of the way we do things, change is inevitable. Change is not a dirty word, not when the goal is life affirming, life engaging, and life embracing.
Life itself, is the greatest gift God has given, because it is a sharing of Himself, an invitation to always start again, afresh, anew. Then to ensure the purging of those things that would sap our lives, He offers us an additional option to our puzzled Inner life. In my experiences and of those who have given God access to their hearts to live there, God's new kind of life is of multidimensional proportions. Initially it starts with, starting ANEW and excepting Him into our hearts to rule there. He then teaches us with compassion and firmness like a good father does. He then leads in baby steps so we can get to know how to engage Him, as we read His Word and listen to His Spirit nudge, prompt and direct us gently, instructing us how to live from a life flowing from Life itself. Not our lost pieces, from our puzzled idea of life, but from the actual One who emanates and sustains all our lives, if we will but acknowledge His actual place in them. This Life brings in with it new capacities for willingness, for approaching life through new eyes, and attitudes that just may help a goal finally be achieved in 'anew' way, and may help others along their way.
So this new year, lets try starting anew instead of starting again. Lets avoid the old pitfalls and allow God to guide us in a new way to live.
Happy New Year
& Merry Orthodox Christmas
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