Yuletide Examen


Itís so good to be writing again: lifeís been a swirl of events, but not always the yummy chocolate & vanilla frozen yogurt kind. Itís been good, but thereís been a decent amount of brain freeze going on as well.

Christmas time can be an over- or under-stimulating time of year: a high-tide or low-tide of events, a valley or mountain view of life, a wetlands or desert spiritual experience. In our Listening Life groups we practice tools for spiritual formation and discernment, one of those being a Prayer of Examen. Usually life is pretty rhythmic and I donít sense a good time to ìdig into my tool boxî to use a spiritual practice. But as Iím getting older and the ìmagicî of Christmas consumerism has lost its glow; as Iím creating Christmas traditions for my family, including teaching and guiding a Little One as to why we celebrate this time of year – bearded man coming down a chimney or baby savior in a manger or both; as Iím part of a nation thatís has a number of religious celebrations taking place at the same time so that highlighting one has become a social faux pas; as the major story in Christian circles has been ìto attend or not to attend (church on Christmas Sunday), that is the questionî, itís become really important to sit with the events of the past days (and weeks and months of preparing, if youíre a perfectionist/worrier like me), reflect, and converse with the Spirit about what just happened . . . if I can remember that far back. 🙂

Itís been said that insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. How many times do I do that with Christmas? It comes but once a year, and during that trip around the sun I forget the ìgood intentionsî I had of changing or of being different. But how can I be different if I havenít sat with what happened previously? Change is generally a process, and some intentional steps have to be taken to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

  • What did I notice this past week?
  • What was something new?
  • What was something familiar?
  • Were these good?
  • What activities brought me closer to Godís heart?
  • What activities took me away from Godís peace?
  • Where did I encounter Christ?

Ah, God: may the dialogue begin!

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