The holidays can sometimes be filled with stress for people who are busy with family preparations, etc. that it can seem to overshadow the purity and simplicity of the birth of Christ. So how do we counteract that in our spiritual practice?
I find these words to be of great help:
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
By seeking God first — a God-consciousness — a consciousness this is aware of who God is and God’s presence governing us and everyone in our lives, we can see harmony expressed and find our needs supplied. Whether you are running errands, doing the shopping, cooking food, etc., we can be poised and still and listening for the inner voice within telling us everything we need to know. It can even keep you from forgetting that item on your shopping list!
Seeking the Kingdom of God within gives us a sense of poise, grace, and peace that we carry with us. It enables us to keep calm and feel that inner peace — that Christ expressed — that comes from a spiritual love that embraces everyone. It enables us to see this Love, that is God, embracing and caring for each person, stranger, and guest in our home.
This beautiful featured image is from pixabay.com.
The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations…Revelation 22:2
Being in the forest and witnessing the awesome beauty of nature has inspiring and transforming effects. A recent newspaper article reports that spending time in nature has many health benefits including a release of stress and anxiety. I think many of us have felt the calming effect of taking a walk through the woods.
I certainly love my walks in the woods and I especially love autumn leaves. To me, autumn leaves are a little way God is saying “see how awesome and beautiful I am!” The beautiful skies and gentle breezes in the leaves are incredible. On my walks I always gain much needed inspiration and feel an affinity for the Creator and creation.
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. Psalms 24:1
All creation including the land, animals, and humans exist to show forth God’s awesomeness. Recognizing this enables us to appreciate each other and helps us find ways to live in harmony. How do we live in a way that enables every thing that has breath to praise the Lord? This was one of the questions posed by Dr. Barry Huff in his wonderful talk entitled “The Earth is the Lord’s…” (Ps 24:1): Biblical Inspiration for Sustainability.
God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. I John 4:16
When we dwell in love, we naturally express appreciation and respect for those around us including people, forests, and animals. Our prayers and actions can lead us to solutions for environmental challenges. When we broaden our sense of divine Love to include love and care for every living being, we see harmony, balance, and order restored to God’s beautiful creation.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalms 34:3
I love going to chapel on Monday morning at my son’s school. During chapel there is an opportunity for teachers and students to “magnify the good” by acknowledging something helpful that another student or teacher did. Students and teachers do a little cheer for that person.
It shows me the value of magnifying the good we see around us, which allows it to become bigger in our thinking.
After a period of feeling fear and doubt, I decided to give gratitude more diligently as a way to “magnify the good”. I have found that a gratitude app really helps me stay on top of this practice. Taking moments to fill my thought with an acknowledgement of good breaks the spell of lack, want, or depression. It gives a keen sense of God’s love, beauty, and goodness.
Gratitude enables us to feel peaceful and joyful! Gratitude has a healing effect.
So magnify the good! Notice the good around you, even the small things. Being aware of God’s presence can fill your consciousness with courage, hope, freedom, and possibilities.
A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, Godlike grace
To come to perfect bloom….
A grateful heart a temple is,
A shrine so pure and white,
Where angels of His presence keep
Calm watch by day or night.
(Christian Science Hymn 3)