I've pondered the season of Advent quite a bit this year. I'd seen this video earlier in the season and really wanted to embrace the ideas...which are so easy to forget in the midst of the holidays. If you have a moment I'd highly reccommend watching it.
I think the video sums up really well what we all feel sometimes. It's hard to set ourselves apart from a culture that is so hell bent on destroying relationship, quality time and peace with a go, go,go mentality. Not to mention the money we spend trying to meet the expectations of gift giving...for our friends and family who are feeling the same pressure. More than likely, we all wish we could put the breaks on the season and just BREATHE...
Has anyone else noticed that during the holidays the news seems to break with unfathomable suffering and tragedy more than usual? We all felt the grief of the recent shootings at the Oregon Mall (right in my home town) and even more terrible...the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. You read all the terrible news and felt helpless right? Well Ryot.org sheds a little hope...as they've created a way to link volunteer and donation opportunities directly to the news stories you are reading...with one click!
People seem to be waking up to the idea that the bigger and better mentality of the 1980's only created a lot of depressed frenzied people. It seems there is a rebellion taking place...one that desires real relationship and a more simple way of life. One that dreams of a better world...where there isn't record obesity in America while children in other nations starve.
A world that believes there is enough for everyone if we all live life more simply and serve others. Not out of a bizarre checklist that helps us build our way to "goodness" (this just leads to burn out)...but because real joy is created with we worship fully, give more and love all.
I figure the holidays are a great place to start. My husband and I are working our way out of being in debt currently..because we really want to be able to bless others with our finances someday. We also have completely gotten rid of our TV so that we can spend free time in relationship with each other and other people. We also purged our apartment...getting rid of everything we haven't touched in more than a year save family heirlooms and photo albums. This has been such a freeing experience.
We still have a lot to work on...as we haven't successfully made all our Christmas gifts or changed our holiday completely...but we figure we are on the right track and that's what is important. I'm no expert, so resources have been very helpful as I re-embrace these ideas. Here are a few books that I've either read, am reading...or want to read soon....
(left to right, top to bottom) 1. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Clairborne 2. Enough by Will Samson 3. Everyday Justice by Julie Clawson 4. Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley, Chris Seay & Greg Holder 5. The Simplicity Reader by Elaine St. James 6. Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott
I'm amazed at the resources there are that share great tips on how to not only enjoy the true joy of the season...but embrace a lifestyle year round the does the same thing. I'll keep you posted on my journey towards this....I hope you have a lovely holiday season and truly enjoy your loved ones! Thanks for letting me gab a little on the subject, as I'm certainly not perfect and have a long way to go in changing how I live!
Blessings to you all....