December 19, 2014

We now are well into December, and Christmas is swiftly approaching. Christmas is so close that we can already smell, taste and hear its pending arrival. Stores that we enter, even to do daily errands, play carols as we shop. We allow ourselves to sample the special treats that tempt us through our schools, workplaces and kitchens.

We experience an inner joy as we watch the excitement in children’s faces as they look forward to December 25, allowing us to recapture pleasant memories of our youth. We remember the carefree days of this season from years ago — a season of youthful anticipation without the corresponding worries of adulthood. When there was little pressure to do, but instead the battle against our pent up emotions of wishing and waiting.

And waiting some more.

But we need not look to children to find that inner sense of joy this season. Joy is different from and much greater than “happiness” or “gladness.” Joy. This is the joy that fills our beings as we grab hold of who we are and claim who we are meant to be.

Being as in being authentic to self and then to others. Being as in not falling prey to pressures to do or to be anything but whom we claim to be, even if it is just declining the latest invitation, perhaps simply to reclaim some time for self, family and friends. It’s about being authentic to self, as in spending Advent as you wish, without apology or explanation, regardless of the countless pressures to do otherwise.

And, arriving at that inner peace, that inner joy, when you successfully claim (or even re-claim) your inner being, your inner self. And, liking and accepting yourself just as you are. For you can be no other. And that is just fine!

The Rev. Theresa Brion is the bishops’ deputy for Western Maryland for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Listen to the audio meditation