From The InnkeepersDecember 2019
As we turn the calendar to the month of December and close in on the ending of 2019, it is a time of reflection on the year that has past. We give thanks for all that has been brought into our lives, both the good and the challenging times. We have been truly blessed this year at the Inn with the many retreat groups that we have served, but who also serve us by sharing their lives with us, their creativity, joys and sorrows. They have become part of the fabric of our family.
It is my hope that as Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ this December, that it is accompanied by a birthing of a new way of being in and for the world: a way of hope, justice, compassion, kindness, and peace that is not just a greeting card sentiment but a call to action to be peacemakers in our daily actions toward each other.
It is my hope that as Jewish people around the world celebrate the triumph of the light this Hanukkah season that we all take up the candles and be beacons for those who are steeped in darkness and may need a little help from us. It is a time to focus on giving and doing good in the world. I am reminded of a quote from Jon Bon Jovi, when he was talking about why he spends so much time and resources creating restaurants where he is feeding those who may not be able to pay for a meal alongside those who can afford to pay for others, whether through volunteering or money. “The way to feel good is to do good. You know, just find your good and do it.” So, light the candle of goodness this December and see beyond yourself and your small corner of the world.
It is my hope that as the people of African tradition celebrate Kwanza and focus on the Seven Principles, that we all should strive to learn about these principles and to live by them: the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, co-operative economics, sense of purpose, creativity, and faith. The light of each Kwanza candle represents the brightness brought into the world when we shape our lives in this manner.
On Winter Solstice, the 22nd of December, the peoples of the northern hemisphere experience the literal “return of the light” as we pass our shortest day of the year and celebrate the movement from “endarkenment” to “enlightenment”. The days will then commence to have a few minutes more of daylight as we move through the year toward summer solstice in June.
It seems that many of the world’s tradition in the month of December are centered on light. So it is then that my December wish for you is simply this:
May the blessings of divine light become visible in you, in all your encounters with others, this day and in all the days to come. Amen. So may it be.