Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Gifts

It is the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter, winter solstice. All the trees are naked once again and my husband had just finished blowing all the autumn leaves away. It has been warmer (70’s) during the weekend, quiet opposite in the East Coast which was having a snow storm.

I was looking for some old pictures on my drawers last night and I came across this book of S. Peck. On the first page was my signature, the date and the place where I bought the book (I always do that). I had the book 9 years ago. I can still remember how that book changed my life in many respects. It was December and a first Christmas away from my family. The ironic part though was that turned out to be the best Christmas I ever had. I’m talking about the gift of recognizing God’s grace and the gift of understanding, inner freedom and inner peace. It was all very humbling! It wasn’t simple at that time though. It was both a death and a life. A death of my old self and a welcoming joy of my new self- a life that promises bigger things. It was an awe-inspiring experience of a blessing of a grateful heart. To say I was in seventh heaven is a celebrated understatement.

I appreciate all sorts of figurative lessons I’ve learned during the past years following that Christmas. I thought I’d share some of it with you:

1. My definition of success changes from “wanting to be significant” to “doing significant things”.

2. I learned how to treasure “the moment”, not to rush away and just enjoy the richness of the experience whether it’s painful or joyful. There’s always beauty hidden in all circumstance and those that contemplate on each beauty find treasures of power that will long withstand.

3. Attitude is everything. Ever since I started changing the way I look at myself, others and the things around me; everything had changed too. I was able to separate myself from others. And to realize that I’m not perfect made me more tolerant unto others.

4. I realized that no matter how heavy the burden is, it will pass. And I count it as a blessing too- just like a gold is tested on fire and so is our character.

5. That I’m always a work in progress. I need to keep working on me. I need to be always ready for adopting, adapting and reloading. Life is too short for complains.

6. That there’s nothing more powerful than to be committed to truly care. It cultivates emotional sanctuaries that create a better chance of touching both myself and others.

It’s been said that every road leads HOME at Christmas, a bridge under which the river of time flows. May you take time to remain on that bridge- recalling your Christmas past, relishing your Christmas present and hoping for more blissful Christmas future! I want to take this occasion to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and God bless us all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Advent!

I was holding my second cup of tea while staring at the fireplace and listening to the Christmas songs played on our iTV. It’s quiet a wintry night and I just finished decorating the Christmas tree.

“You know, I was sorting through these pictures back when I had a lot of money”, my husband interrupted from the kitchen. He’s been doing a gallery for his office and the bonus room has been a real mess.

“So, were you happier then than you are now?” asked me.

“I’m no happier than I am now. Money is not everything” he replied.

Then the conversation jumps up to telling him how happy I was then regardless of our family’s financial constraints. I’m talking about those good old days when my Dad will just grab a branch of tree down the hill. Oh, we were so excited to put Christmas balls on it while Mom was busy making lanterns made of crepe paper. The joys it brought to me were different then. The yearning, the joyful hoping and vibrant dreaming were more intense and profound.

“That’s what my Dad kept telling me that the journey is sweeter than the arrival” my husband remarked. How true that is!

I realized life is all about advent. From the moment I wake up in the morning, there’s that joyful hoping in my heart for a meaningful day, a yearning for God’s embrace and a prayer of gratitude and asking for guidance…that I may be His voice or I may be His face in every moment.

I have always looked at life as an adventure, a journey to the unknown. And yes, awareness is my best companion. There’s so much to discover if you’re always attentive. I see ample of hopes in a fog of quiet disappointments, greater excitements of things that I’m about to discern and that the world is filled with endless beauty and possibilities. I always see precious riches I have been given to live, to experience, and to share. And that what keeps me awake, vibrant, young and hopeful! Most of all, it’s a gratitude that while I am worthy there is something worthier and greater than me.

And oh, like you…I’m keeping Christ this Christmas too! Happy Advent!