Simple Gifts

Simple Beauty. Photo credit: Peter K. Perry

This time of year isn’t about resolutions for me. I have never been much into bulleted lists of the changes I want to make beginning Jan 1. Maybe because I know that my follow through will be lackluster and so I hesitate to set myself up for inevitable failure.

What I have noticed, is that the newness of January brings out old habits that are in need of refreshing. Eating healthy(ier), moving my body, sitting in silence are all practices that I often let go during the holiday season.

The indulgences of the holiday season aren’t entirely negative (except, perhaps, the binge eating of Christmas cookies). Celebration is a recognized spiritual practice. Getting together with friends and family to eat and drink reminds us of the joy present in our lives. We remember the gifts that are with us throughout the year such as relationship with loved ones, good friendships, and the love of God come to us in Jesus.

When the season of celebration wanes, life offers us an invitation to return to the ordinary and find sacredness there as well. While we carry with us the blessings from the celebrations, space opens up for quiet study of Scripture, or a walk on a sunny winter day.

In returning to regular practices, or in picking up a new habit, we are invited to see our life with fresh eyes. Celebration, with all of its glitzy exuberance, helps us to upend our routine, so that we might re-embrace the beauty in the ordinary when the party ends.

The putting away of the cookie plate, the storing of the decorations, the clearing of the calendar make way for sacred moments to emerge in simplicity. Healthy habits are waiting. Some are easy. Simply removing the holiday sweets from the counter makes it easier to grab a piece of fruit. Others require more effort, like exercising or cleaning out a closet.

When these tasks used to show up on my resolution list I did them to earn a sense of accomplishment, which often led to guilt when the new habit slipped into the distance. But now, I see these practices as invitations to find the grace within the routine of life.

Today, my dog and I went for a walk, something that the busy holidays left little room for. As we careened down steep driveway, we breathed in joy. We were awake to our physical and spiritual selves in the simple act of running and feeling the wind rush over us. We experienced a moment of transcendence in the midst of simple, everyday life. May your 2019 be filled with moments of grace – big and small. May you embrace the beauty of the ordinary and find joy in the everyday!


This Post Has One Comment

  1. It has taken me many years to allow myself the grace to slowly ease back into healthier actions instead of the guilt of trying and failing for drastically different habits. Thanks for this!

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