Loving our Way through the Darkest of Days (Advent Week Four)

WWCFrom our comrades at The Wilderness Way in Portland, OR:

Week Four’s Skill of Loving is HONORING:

I honor your feelings and ideas. I recognize your right to think and feel as you do, as well as my own.

Connection with Christian Scriptures — Luke 2: 1 – 20

This text is the classic “Christmas Story” — the story of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. The practice of honoring in this story is captured by one simple sentence that comes near the end of the story. “But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

The scene as it is described is much more earthy and chaotic than the Christmas pageant version many of us are familiar with. Mary, a young teen, has just given birth in a barn in a town she’s never been to before, no extended family supporting her, after having walked there because because of the Roman Emperor imposing a census on all his occupied territories. Take a moment to imagine all the feelings she must have been experiencing.

And after all that, a group of shepherds show up, strangers who were led to Mary by an angel who said her son was to be the Messiah for her people. The shepherds were ecstatic. But this was her baby they were talking about. These were other people’s ideas and expectations for her son. What was this going to mean for him? For her?

Fear. Exhaustion. Ecstatic Joy. Pain. Vulnerability. Wonder. Sometimes they all come crashing in at the same time and all we can do — or maybe the best we can do — is take them all into our heart, pondering and honoring them.

For further reflection, what is it like for you to try to honor many different people’s feelings and ideas? Do you typically honor other people’s thoughts and feelings but minimize your own? Do you struggle to respect other people’s right to think and feel as they do without trying to fix or change them? What helps you honor your own feelings and ideas in the presence of other strong opinions? How do you decide when to “ponder these things in your heart,” and when to give voice to your own feelings and ideas?

Invitation

This week, we invite you take the next right step for yourself in practicing the skill of HONORING, and to post your experiences of the practice and reflections on these questions.

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