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  • Writer's pictureDr. CK Bray

Who Will You Be This Holiday Season?

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."

Meister Eckhart

Next week most of the world celebrates some sort of holiday tradition. Gifts, food, family, and friends gathering together provide us a moment to take a step away from the world, away from our busy lives and our to-do lists, and celebrate all that we have. To not want for a moment but to be utterly grateful for everything we have. Everything we miss because business blinds us. The beautiful flowers in the front yard, the laughter of kids jumping on the trampoline, the hello of our neighbor, and the blue sky or white snowfall that wakes us each morning.

Unfortunately, It is amazing how quickly gratitude can be sucked out of our minds and hearts by the loud and continuous rhythm of modern life. In the United States, we recently celebrated Thanksgiving, a moment where we paused to remember the gifts and grace we have received. But immediately after the turkey, stuffing, and rolls were clear from the table, Black Friday and Cyber Monday overshadowed them. We ran to Walmart to wrestle with people for a cheap TV. We frantically searched the web and stores for "more." But at least it is "Cheap more," we tell ourselves. The "more that will be junk or forgotten in less than 60 days. Important in the moment, meaningless for the long term.

The hedonic treadmill is at top speed, seeking to take over our minds and hearts with what we want and what we must have. Instead of listening to our hearts for "who" we need to be. Focusing on wanting and not who we want to be is a big mistake that will haunt us in the quiet moments, shame us for selling out so quickly and eagerly. "I could have been this" will be the script in our brain, not "I should have bought that".

So this holiday season, let's go to battle with our brains and fight to maintain gratitude through this season. Question everything that seeks to overshadow the wonder of what we truly celebrate this holiday, whether it be a christ child or a celebration of cultural heritage. Place the desire to be generous, grateful, and kind in your brain and heart. Leave consumerism and buy contentment. One day of toys a year won't build a family culture, but gratitude in an entire season can. That is what you need to fight for this week.

This week appreciate, laugh, savor, reflect, enjoy, serve and exemplify patience.

Frederick Buechner reminds us to: "Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, and smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because, in the last analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."

Grace to see how much we have.

Grace to resist what we do not need.

Grace to love and serve.

Grace to slow down and reflect.

Grace to give ourselves away.

May you cultivate a gratitude that overshadows the cheapening of the sacred this season. May you revel in grace and gratitude. May the only prayer that truly matters rise from your lips, "thank you, I have enough."

*Adapted from John Tyson






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