Discovering Real Life in God’s Word – Senior Living – December 23

Discovering Real Life in God’s Word

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Anatoly Shcharansky, a dissident Soviet Jew, kissed his wife goodbye as she left Russia for freedom in Israel. His parting words to her were, “I’ll see you soon in Jerusalem.” But Anatoly was detained and finally imprisoned. Their reunion in Jerusalem would not only be postponed, it might never occur.

During long years in Russian prisons and work camps, Anatoly was stripped of his personal belongings, with the exception of a miniature copy of the Psalms. Once during his imprisonment, his refusal to release the book to the authorities cost him 130 days in solitary confinement.

Finally, twelve years after parting with his wife, Anatoly was offered his freedom. In February 1986, as the world watched, Shcharansky was allowed to walk away from Russian guards toward those who would take him to Jerusalem. But in the final moments of captivity, the guards tried again to confiscate the Psalms book. So Anatoly threw himself face down in the snow and refused to walk on to freedom without it because it was those words that had kept him alive during imprisonment.

Do you love the Word of God? Do you cherish His precepts so much that you would suffer for them? God’s Word is more precious than any earthly possession. So as you live your life, keep the Bible as the light to your path because in it you’ll find the way to the life God wants for you!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and ask God to help you to walk the path of life with His Word as your light!

Visit the Senior Living Ministries website

5 Ways to Have a More Peaceful Holiday Season

Here are five ways to make that happen. May your season be merry and bright, just as the carols promise.
Stockings hung over a fireplace

For years, the very thought of Christmas and the holiday season shivered me timbers. It meant weight gain, credit card debt, and general unease that I wasn’t having as much meaningful fun as everyone else. Know what I mean? So I’d head in to the season, filled with dread, determined to soldier through.

The problem with this approach is that the holiday season is now so long that it means dreading a full 2 months out of the year. That’s 1/6 of your life. And that’s just not right.

Let this year to be the year you draw a line in the sand and claim the holidays to be what they are intended to be–a restorative and joyful highlight of the year. Here are five ways to make that happen. May your season be merry and bright, just as the carols promise.

Kate Hanley is a mind-body coach, yoga teacher, blogger, and author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill GuideVisit her at MsMindbody.com, and to learn more about making the holidays more fulfilling, learn more about her holidayrebootcamp.com.

So…whaddya want?

Family roasting marshmallows by the fireplace

Get clear on what you want

If you could wave your magic wand and create the ideal holiday season for you and your family, what would it entail? Would you do away with gifts altogether? Would you somehow get out of the annual gathering at your annoying cousin’s house? Take a look at what your capital-W wants for the season are—they are a great clue to what you value about the whole affair.

Getting in touch with your desires gives you something to aim for. If what you want is relaxation, you’ll be emboldened to turn down the numerous requests for school volunteers, or invitations to cookie exchanges. If you know you want to use the holidays as an opportunity to feel more connected to others, it will inspire you to invite your favorite people over for a gathering.

Knowing and moving toward what you want is not selfish. The Latin roots of the word “desire” means “of the Father.” As in, divine. Your deep desires benefit you and those around you in surprisingly meaningful ways. 

Create Your Own Personal Forcefield

Board game

Set intentions

OK, great, you know what you want out of the holidays. How do you make them a reality? By using intentions – statements that declare your desired outcome for a particular occasion. For example, my intention for this article is to inspire readers to change the way they approach the holidays. Your intention for the company holiday party could be to strengthen your connection to your co-workers, or to meet someone new and broaden your network within the company.

An intention is like a force field – it creates a boundary that keeps distractions from taking over your experience. Without an intention for the holiday party, you’ll be more likely to get sucked in to the champagne punch and mini egg rolls.

Don’t forget your Mother. (Mother Nature, that is.)

Poinsettia

Keep it natural

A common complaint about the holidays is their overwhelming focus on consumerism. Look to Mother Nature for your decorations, and you’ll keep yourself grounded and uplifted instead of feeling like you’re drowning in stuff.

There’s the obvious Christmas tree, of course. Other ideas for natural décor include wreaths made of bay leaves, pine boughs, bouquets of holly branches, a glass bowl filled with pinecones for a centerpiece, and a bowl of oranges studded with cloves. Theses attractive ways of celebrating the season also have the benefit of smelling fabulous, costing little, and providing a boost to the spirit. Going outside to gather the raw materials with your kids also makes a lovely holiday ritual. And speaking of rituals…

Embrace the Ceremony

Candy canes

Take comfort in rituals

For any part of the season that happens year after year, view it as what it is – a ritual (and not just an excuse to roll your eyes and think, “Here we go again.”)  Rituals are how we mark time, ascribe meaning to our experiences and transcend daily worries. If you could view your annual pilgrimage to grandma’s house as a ritual, how would that change your experience of it?

And if there’s no part of your standard holiday celebrations that you find particularly meaningful, start your own. As Pat Conroy wrote in his book The Lords of Discipline,  “The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.”

Soak in the Sweet Stuff

Christmas lights and decorations on a house

Savor the happy moments with mindfulness

Finally, keep the season from turning in to one big blur by using mindfulness. When you’re at the dinner table, surrounded by your chit-chatting extended family, bring the soles of both feet to the floor, turn up the volume on your awareness of your breathing, and enjoy being rooted in the present where you can let the sweetness of the moment soak in to your cells.

Expanding your awareness from the thoughts in your head to what’s actually happening in the moment helps you observe more, and what you observe you can change or savor.