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Pastor Mickey Correa
The festive echo of the coming holiday season is riddled with many sights, scents and sounds. The sights are plentiful: menorahs, kinaras, Christmas trees & wreaths, Santa & reindeer, nativity scenes and even the parodic Festivus pole might make its way into our awareness. Scents from the fresh pine forests from the corner Christmas tree vendors to the latest holiday concoction at Starbucks draw us in to viscerally take in the holidays. And in a city like New York, it would not be the holidays without the sounds that become magnified as natives and tourists alike make it into a winter wonderland. We might even call this the noisiest holiday season of the year. Sounds do something to capture us and eventually train us to become creatures of awareness or lack thereof. The brisk wind of the winter chill reminds us of wearing layers, hats and gloves. The clamor of mall shoppers looking for the perfect gift encourages us to be thankful for online shopping and Amazon Prime accounts. And the nostalgic sounds of holiday music draws our attention to the meaning of “doing the holidays” once again even if it feels like consumerist propaganda.
In this season of “doing the holidays”, we might forget that this is a time of holy expectation. So while there is quite a lot to see, smell and hear, in other words, to “do”, this is a moment to think about what it means to “be”. In this sense as reflective people it might be helpful to connect with the existential angst of “being” in a time of so much “doing”. Sounds like a daunting task doesn’t it? Shouldn’t this be a time of gladness and joy and not much pensive activity? Of course! But it is also a time to be still, practice self-reflection and know that this is a time of listening beyond what our auditory nerve captures. To do so, ancient wisdom from the hymn states, “let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand”. I hear echoed a call to capture an attitude of reverence. Reverence for God, the “Wholly other”, who became mortal, meaning as one who embraced the task of “being” human; reverence for self, for through our mortal bodies are birthed the dreams and visions that can transform the world into a beloved existence; and reverence for others, for in the global community is love made incarnate when our shared humanity is not taken for granted. Take a moment of silence and savor the nearness of the awaited Christ child. Quiet your thoughts even for just a moment and just let yourself be one with your breath, the gift that we all share across demographics no matter gender, race or class. And quietly witness those around you. Perhaps, you might catch a glimpse of hope in human vesture.
Prayer: May in a time such as this, I see the beauty of all creation even in those sights too sublime for immediate comprehension; may I smell the sweet fragrance of the season filled with promise; and may I hear the accents of the Spirit speaking love, peace and hope in all that is and all that shall be. Amen.