In occidental Christian traditions, the Winter holiday season has already passed on by. If gift-giving was involved, the outer dressings have long been discarded and the actual gifts already earned their places in our bellies, on our skin, in the home or somewhere else in the daily lives that may have since returned to a regular rhythm, possibly laden with the downbeats of our social experiences, so to speak. Those who observe according to Eastern orthodox traditions may still have some celebration to go and the Spirit of joy remains!
A similar difference in the heart of the matter became rather evident yesterday when receiving then sharing a video clip. From those who responded came a mixed bag regarding the culture-specific comedy piece intended only to brighten a few minutes of days I otherwise have little to do with quantitatively. Most of us simply laughed at the content without a second thought while some responded with the odd double-entendre of their own experience. Learning not to internalize or take offense to any burden that isn't mine to bear, worry for those persons gave way to the wisdom of Proverbs 25 -- namely verses 11, 12 and 20: There is a favorable time for the delivery of every message and our receptivity to sound counsel is a blessing of itself. Jokes or sweet songs shared with a heavy heart may not always serve the moment, however, despite said intention or the secure images displayed upon its receipt.
If our energetic focus is placed there, any number of personal inclinations and obstacles co-exist with the world's ills giving us something to weep about, be bogged down by or catch emotional and spiritual cold from. Self-preservation while caring for community is part of the human experience's lessons, after all. I am realizing, however, that the Love of God not only guides our focus to discern those shadows and, more importantly, the Light of higher relief (e.g. seeing past dirt for dirt's sake to receive nutritive beauty) but allows us to retain rightful heat within, keeping our hearts primed to receive the Master's mercy and give kindness to others. Whether observing the East, West or other directions, let us be encouraged to make every day a holy day and unwrap ourselves from functional and possibly pretty falsehoods. Only then can we receive the True presence underneath.