This is your signal

December 5, 2014

As we travel through this Advent season, looking ahead to Christmas Day, it is easy to find ourselves looking so much toward the destination that we fail to allow ourselves to be immersed in the joys of the journey. Thanksgiving Day memories remain sharp, yet the pressure to purchase gifts, attend holiday parties, and perform kitchen wizardry excite us into new acts of frenzy.

“Oh my goodness, Christmas is only x number days away. I must get ready.” There is no enjoyment of the special smells of winter, the sounds of Salvation Army bells, or even the taste of snow on our faces and tongues.

Perhaps this can be a different year, when we make time to enjoy the actual journey towards that special day. We experience a special peace and tranquility when we allow ourselves to enjoy the journey — perhaps better called a pilgrimage. We rest into the actual experiences along the way, instead of focusing so centrally on the actual destination.

Many of us can remember times when we have felt stretched to the very limit, wondering when and how we would get all of the things done on our “to do” lists, when an unexpected interruption occurs. Somehow, some way, time expands to allow all that must get done to be done. And we know that we will experience this wonder again.

Perhaps this is a good year to recapture that wonder. Allow yourself to enjoy a local pageant or parade or even sit over a cup of tea with a friend or loved one. What needs to be done, will get done, and the experiences along the journey — our journey to Christmas — will be a more enjoyable and less harried one. A more enjoyable and less harried one for you and all the lives you touch.

The Rev. Theresa Brion is the bishops’ missioner for Western Maryland.

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