Thursday, January 3, 2013

A bitter cold Christmas morning

As I walk between buildings this morning, the chill in the air stings your lungs and clogs your head. It is still Christmas. Back to daily grind and the descent into ordinary things when it isn't even ordinary time yet. Our Savior is but 10 days old today, His human life has barely begun and, yet, so much has occurred.

His poor mother has endured the 90 mile trip from Nazareth in the advanced weeks of her pregnancy. Arriving in Bethlehem, she and her espoused are forced to bring forth the child in a stable reserved for animals.

Magi are coming from the east to see the child but Shepherds from the hills around Bethlehem beat them there. The still, cool air has been shattered with the shrieks of mothers and babies as Herod's heartless soldiers carry out his barbaric order- the slaughter of the innocents. The child and his holy parents have fled to Egypt and a coming Eclipse gives the ominous sign to Herod that his days are numbered and his Judgment as at hand.

Too many of us have already put the Christmas decorations away but, worse yet, we have already put Christ away. The Christmas season is not even over, but even when it is, we are called to believe, cherish and do extraordinary things in ordinary time. You cannot grow as a Christian if Jesus only lives in your heart at Christmas and Easter. With a New Year is a new beginning and a new focus. The past stands one year further away and that much more in perspective and, as with each day, you now stand closer to the final things- Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell.

This life is no picnic and we chain ourselves down with so many things. Our own Christie Martin just completed a magnificent show and article on the Seven deadly sins. Both are going to be placed into our 'best of' archive. These sins are not called deadly sins for no reasons. Pride is that debilitating blindness that causes us to esteem our own feelings, desires and wants more than that which we ought to feel desire and want. Pride is that deadliest of the deadly sins and the root of the other six. It is pride that leads to Greed, the determination to have more than what we need. Pride, through Greed, leads to Envy when we despise others who have that which we want. That Envy can go beyond the things others have to the people others have. When we objectify persons and seek them as a means for our gratification, we fall prey to Lust. Gluttony is very much like lust, it is merely another way by which we seek to satisfy the selfish wants of the flesh. Anger is the result of all of these unsatisfied yearnings that are unsatisfied because they are insatiable and unreasonable. wanting the quick fix, the fast satiation, rather than the Real Joy and Happiness that lies only at the end of that long hard road. It is Sloth that keeps us from walking that road in earnest, seeking to reach it's hard and rocky summit.

Pride, Greed, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, Anger and Sloth. 7 terrible and paralyzing spiritual poisons that all flow from the same bitter fruit tree planted squarely in the center of the mythical land of I-me-mine.

In 2013, and beyond, let us all endeavor and commit ourselves, to being just a little more humble, just a little happier for the blessings others receive, even as we hope for, and work for, our own. Let us be committed to purity and shun the impure in TV, Radio, music, print and the internet. Avoiding the near occasion of fleshly temptation, we can stand safely off from whatever pits we could be pulled into.

Let us remember those around the world who don't have enough to eat and eat less, so they may eat more. Working towards improving our health, for the ones we love who need us.

Let us let go of Anger and Unforgiveness. What possible good can coming from dragging these heavy chains for another year?

And let us get to work. Get off the couch. There are too many prayers to be said, things to be fixed, family to be visited, jobs to be completed, kind words to be said, and growth to be made.

May 2013 be the year that you seek first the Kingdom....and let God be concerned with what you get in return.

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