Since it is Christmas, I am going to keep my Thought of the Week short. With all of the activities, family, cooking, and religious events coming up I understand you may be short on time. As we pull out all of the rituals of the season, whatever your religious beliefs are, I would ask that you keep two things in mind.
First, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, but why are we celebrating his birth? Perhaps as a reminder every year that Christmas is also about OUR Re-Birth. It is an opportunity for us to be born again and live in faith, born again in our beliefs, born again into love, peace, joy, and hope for a better tomorrow.
Second, Christmas is not about the traditions of Religion but your Relationship with God. The traditions have a purpose in supporting you to connect and develop a relationship with God, but if you don’t truly accept God in your heart, the traditions are really meaningless. I love church. I love the people at church. I love the songs, prayers, and messages about how to live a Godly life. I go out of my way to find and visit churches wherever we travel and always stop, say a prayer, and light a candle. I have prayed in the National Cathedral in New York City, in Notre Dame, listened to the monks chant at the Chapel at Mont-St.-Michel, prayed in the Chapel at St. Mere Eglise, in the National Cemeteries at Arlington and Normandy, the small church missions in California and even in a small little church right off of the beaches of Normandy, but the only place to truly find God is in your heart. God is not about a religious tradition but having a deep personal Relationship with him in your heart. It is the moments of prayer where you are deepening your relationship with him that are the most meaningful. They happen in the woods on a run, as you kiss your kids while they are sleeping, as you ask for help to overcome life’s challenges, as you say Grace at dinner, or as you go out of your way to share love from you heart with another.
I encourage you to accept God into your heart and remember to share that love with those you love most dearly this Holiday Season. I look forward to a dynamic, powerful, and prosperous 2009 for all of you.
An Old Irish Blessing for You this Christmas
May the road rise to meet you:
May the wind be always at your back,
The sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.