The Morning After
by Amanda Petersen
As I was sitting down to a piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast this morning, I began to reflect on life on the other side of Thanksgiving. To be honest, it feels like I have a hangover. This season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is just strange if I really look at it. It is a season of excess: excess food, family, loneliness, joy, spending, cooking, activities, lack, judgment, crowds, giving, etc. There is just a lot. Plus, it is filled with so many things I wouldn’t normally do, like put a tree in my living room. Now, putting up lights - that I do all year around.
It’s no surprise that this is also the holiest month of the year. Every major religion that I am familiar with has a celebration or ritual in December. For Christians, Advent has begun with a theme of waiting, darkness and light, hope, and love. As I reflect on navigating this season of excess contemplatively, I hear the call “practice waiting” in the excess. Taking a breath before going for another piece of pie or purchase or activity. Sitting in my feelings of judgment before I even get in the car to go to the store. Realizing I am groping in the dark in a season that is full of so many extremes. What light am I seeing? Am I looking, or am I caught up in all that is around me?
Contemplatively walking through this season is not about removing myself or rising above all the abundance of the season, but to be present to it; to use this season of extremes to practice life differently so I may enter the New Year, with all itsunknowns, from a place of awareness instead of hung over.
What do the excesses of this season teach you about your life? Are you feeling more lonely? To what can you be present in that? Are you feeling more giving? To what can you be inspired about that? Are you feeling judgment? How does it feel to confess that? Are you more joyful? What is the source of your joy? How do you cultivate that?
Pathways of Grace is committed to giving you a space to pause in the fullness of this season to reflect, wait and be present to your Life. Practice reflecting on the excess in your life right now. Let me know what you discover.