Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
All of us here at the Abbey – John, Christine, and the Abbey Wisdom Council – wish you a most wondrous Christmas feast. This is the time for holy birthing to happen in unlikely places, a time to listen to what rises in the stillness, a time to trust in the darkness that seeds are sprouting deep beneath the fertile earth. We live in a world hungry for such truths. What a gift you each are to be a bearer of this wisdom.
To support this knowing in your own heart, I offer you a few links to holy pauses for beauty:
Christmas Sparrow (a poem by Billy Collins)
Christmas Poem (a poem by Mary Oliver)
How the Light Comes (a blessing for Christmas Day by Jan Richardson)
Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming (a beautiful performance of my favorite song of the season by Gesualdo Six)
Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming (a gorgeous arrangement of this song by J. Sandstrom in an even more contemplative rhythm)
Consider giving yourself the gift of several 5-minute pauses during the frenzy this time of year can bring. During each holy pause read one of the poems or blessings or listen to one of the pieces of music, place your hand on your heart, and remember what the season is really inviting you into. Remember that the incarnation teaches us that we too are holy and Christ takes up dwelling within each of us. All we need to do is pay attention.
For all of those for whom this time of year is especially challenging because of loneliness, family dysfunction, depression, or other struggles, I will be thinking of you in a special way this time of year and sending extra love.
May Christ be born in each of your hearts.
(We will be taking a break this coming week from the daily emails.)
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner