our family nativity with St. Francis Assisi

Christmas has arrived!  That magical time of the year when all seems to be at peace.  That time of the year when nature seems still, wars paused, enemies celebrate together, kids believe in magic and the hope of treasure.  A time when most of us recall how we spent the season as a child, longing once again for that simplicity of life.  Amidst all the secular commercialization, this time of the year still seems to hold a special place for us.

This picture is of the manger scene our family has set up for over two decades, and since the 1980's I have added the statue of St. Francis of Assisi to my manger scene.  Why?

In a little town in Italy, named Greccio, in the year 1223, St. Francis led an evening prayer service for the towns' people, and to make the event meaningful he decided to recreate, live, the nativity, the birth of Jesus.  Prior to this event, the displaying of nativity scenes was unheard of.  But for Francis, the importance of the nativity event was that it was a real event.  Historically, in the town of Bethlehem, a child, later to be named Jesus by his…

Read more: Merry Christmas

Write comment (0 Comments)

Reason for the Season

Christmas Eve, for me as a child, was one of the longest days ever! As an adult, I find this day to be one filled with anticipation and excitement, for spiritually I know that tomorrow we commemorate the birth of Jesus my Lord. But today the birth is not my focus, rather, my focus turns to His mother, Mary. Mary, an unwed teenager from a small town in a desert is asked the impossible; to trust so deeply in God when asked to bear God's son. I have no doubt that Mary's "yes" came with some hesitation and trepidation. And I'm sure she did not always have a pleasant time of it when dealing with her future husband, her family, and just the fact of being pregnant in general. Yet, through it all, Mary never gave up.

Jesus was born to this poor teenage girl in a stable in a small town in the far reaches of the Roman empire.  He was born to a girl who took a leap of faith and trusted in her God. She persevered, not knowing the outcome.  Onward she traveled, despite hardship and fear.

For me, Christmas is not only a time of celebration and remembrance; it is also a time when I feel challenged to live the example set forth by Mary; to trust, in faith, in my God; to persevere along the journey even though I may be scared or not understanding its end or purpose in my life.  Today, let's follow the example of Mary, a poor young teenage girl, who struggled the best she could, and in the end provided the world with its savior.

I share this song for your reflection (words are below). This song sums up for me how I imagine Mary felt. How do the words speak to you?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RVTZDgcpqM]

Breath of Heaven

I have traveled many moonless nights

Cold and weary with a babe inside

And I wonder what I've done

Holy Father, You have come

Chosen me now to carry Your Son

Do You wonder as You watch my face

If a wiser one should have had my place

But I offer all I am for the mercy of Your plan

Help me be strong, help me be help me

Breath of heaven

Hold me together

Be forever near me

Breath of heaven

Breath of heaven

Light in my darkness

Pour over me Your holiness

For You’re holy

Breath of heaven

Hold me together

Be forever near me

Breath of heaven

Breath of heaven

Light in my darkness

Pour over me Your holiness

For Your holy breath of heaven 

If you're ready to explore life coaching, I would be honored to help. You can read more here about my life coaching practice or call me directly at 301-850-2177. 

... continue the conversation here or on social media ...

Read more: Trust is the meaning of Christmas Eve

Write comment (0 Comments)
"Don't spoil what you have by desiring what you don't have; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for."Epicurus

 (Norman Rockwell "Traditional Thanksgiving")

Today, in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday begun in 1789 by our first president, George Washington. In Washington's proclamation the president stated: "this is a day of national thanksgiving and prayer."  It is a day for us to gather in remembrance and gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon each of us, and for us, in prayer, to unite with our Creator as the one who has bestowed these blessings we now celebrate.

Thanksgiving traditionally begins that time of the year when we celebrate family, joy, peace and traditions as we head down the road to Christmas Day and later to New Year's Eve/day. During this time I recall those special moments shared as a child; and now, as an adult, I again see that same joy, wonder and amazement through the eyes of the children in the family, and now, in their children's eyes!

Remembering our past and viewing the present through the eyes of children hopefully returns us to a time when, in our innocence, we…

Read more: Thanksgiving Day Reflection

Write comment (0 Comments)

World Trade Center "cross" 9/11/2001

Today we remember all those who lost their lives, and those families who lost loved ones in an attack on innocent lives. I recall that Tuesday morning in 2001 as if it were yesterday. My question now is the same as it was 15 years ago; how do I make sense from a senseless act?

I often write about the need for us to change our perspective, so I found this quote by Henri Nouwen, a renown spiritual author, quite enlightening:

"Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures. But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain…

Read more: Learning from the 9/11 attacks

Write comment (0 Comments)

Today the United States celebrates its Independence day, a day we recall freedom from oppression. On this day we also remember all those who struggled, and those who have died, allowing us to live in freedom.

As I reflect on today, my thoughts wander to the meaning of freedom. When I think of freedom as the opposite of oppression, I not only think of physical oppression, but also of emotional and cognitive oppression. How often do we self-impose oppression through our thoughts and feelings?

On this day of independence, let's reflect on the following quote from Viktor Frankl. In his statement he reminds us of the meaning of true freedom.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms...to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."

... continue the conversation here or on social media ...

If you're ready to explore life coaching, I would be honored to help. You can read more here about my life coaching practice or call me directly at 301-850-2177. 

... continue the conversation here or on social media ...

Read more: Rest Stop (Independence Day) ... Freedom

Write comment (0 Comments)

Map & Directions

22530 Washington St
Leonardtown, MD 20650
301-850-2177
M-T-Th-Fr: 3pm - 8pm, Sat: 10am - 1pm

Follow Lifesjourney…

Search...

Copyright

© Christopher Shea and Lifesjourney, 2015- present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Christopher Shea is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Shea and Lifesjourney with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. | Site Map