Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least.
I don’t think any of us would have fathomed this time last year what we were about to embark on. COVID-19 has dominated the news and our lives. We seem to have overcome a very contentious presidential election and not come apart at the seams as a democracy – thank goodness. It feels like our 239-year-old constitutional system worked although only time will tell. I know there are still many people out there unhappy with the result. I hope you find the time to heal and move forward. We are always much stronger united than divided as a country. Hopefully, we will all do a better job of trying to understand different points of view moving forward. If you are only ever listening to those who validate what you believe, you are living in an intellectual and emotional vacuum that becomes harder to escape with time. Bitterness and anger are often the last refuges of those who feel unheard.
The past year has also been an ongoing learning and character development laboratory. Even though I have been fortunate not to have contracted the virus, I do feel burdened by the social isolation it has wrought. Life isn’t meant to be lived from a Zoom platform. In addition, protecting family members and friends by not seeing them is hard medicine to take. My guess is that most of us on the other side of this pandemic will have a renewed appreciation for the people in our lives, which may be a good outcome of all this tragedy.
I have been amazed by the courage shown by first responders and health care workers. While most of us had the luxury of protecting ourselves in response to this crisis, they had to lean directly into it, putting the needs of others above their own. We should all be eternally grateful for their past and current efforts. The world is made up of everyday heroes (angels) who often go unnoticed but are critical to our survival.
I wanted to share a Christmas Blessing from the late John O’Donohue this year. His writing continues to inspire and motivate me to become a better version of myself. He makes sense of the world in a healing good way. I find that although he was a devout Christian, his words transcend all spiritual boundaries and tap into our shared humanity.
Christmas Blessing by John O’Donohue
May the Angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn toward you streams of blessing.
May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To all the invitations that quietly surround you.
May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds
Into sources of refreshment.
May the Angel of the Imagination enable you
To stand on the true thresholds,
At ease with your ambivalence
And drawn in new direction
Through the glow of your contradictions.
May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes
To the unseen suffering around you.
May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
Where your life is domesticated and safe,
Take you to the territories of true otherness
Where all that is awkward in you
Can fall into its own rhythm.
May the Angel of Eros introduce you
To the beauty of your senses
To celebrate your inheritance
As a temple of the holy spirit.
May the Angel of Justice disturb you
To take the side of the poor and the wronged.
May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you
In worth and self-respect,
That you may live with the dignity
That presides in your soul.
May the Angel of Death arrive only
When your life is complete
And you have brought every given gift
To the threshold where its infinity can shine.
May all the Angels be your sheltering
and joyful guardians.