|Paris Mountain State Park|
I absolutely love this time of year. When I was young, it meant PRESENTS!! As I've gotten older, it has come to mean something completely different. It's a time of reflection, and it's a time of preparation. As Advent begins, we take the time to humble ourselves, get quiet, and reflect on our year in preparation for the celebration of Christ's birth. We are literally celebrating the coming of Christ, but as Father Pat always emphasizes (and this is why I love the Catholic faith), we must take the scripture and apply it to our lives today.
In any twelve step program, there is a process of atonement that one must go through before experiencing a "Spiritual Awakening". While the reprieve from our malady is daily and a gift of God, we take certain actions in order to help that prepare ourselves for that gift. We first admit our issue and realize that something needs to change. We, then, go through a process of examination and surrender in order to clear up all of the yuckiness that lives within us. That yuckiness is something we've created through desperate acts and poor decisions but it can be cleared out. We examine those actions, and we attempt to make it right. We ask each person we've harmed how we can make it better. We don't apologize, but we recognize our mistakes and take action to make them right. It is through this process that we can then, be forgiven by others (hopefully), and more importantly, by ourselves. While this process is extremely important in the recovery of an alcoholic/addict, I feel strongly that this is something we must all do in our lives. To think that one is infallible is short sighted, and really delusional. We are all humans and it is through our pain and our mistakes that we learn to be better. We cannot grow, though, if we do not recognize that we can be wrong.
Advent is that time for Christians. And actually, it can be that time for anyone. While we celebrate the birth of Christ, we can also prepare ourselves for the birth of the christ within us. Each one of us has a perfect love that exists within us. This love is so pure that it trumps all of the mistakes we've made, all of the ego that exists, all of that which is not love, and makes us holy. The first thing we need to do is realize that this love is there. Then, we must clear out all of the junk in order for that love to grow. Really, all we need to do is realize it is there and then forgive, but if forgiveness was so easy, we wouldn't have the world we live in today. This process of atonement is what helps us to be forgiven, and to forgive. Once we align ourselves with Christ, we realize our only function is this world is to love. All the other mess will be taken care of, but in my daily life, if I can be of loving service to all that I meet, the world can be saved.