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Three Things I Want for Christmas

[caption id="attachment_1781" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP[/caption]

Last Year's Wish List

Last year at this time, I wrote a blog about three things I wanted for Christmas and, tongue in cheek, one of them was that Donald Trump would drop out of the presidential race. Now I have to reassess and find a way to build a bridge across the divisions that have been exposed in this election. Back then, I asked for an end to the war in Syria, and we are still horrified over the killing of children and the fog of war our leaders are in. We seem to know a lot more about the repeated attempts to evacuate Aleppo but very little of peace talks, cease fires or any political attempts to bring this horror to an end. This year, as I contemplate the gift of Jesus Christ, the healer, the reconciler, the Prince of Peace, I realize that I could easily ask for the same gifts, but for different reasons. So I ask again with the confidence that light will come, that Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, will prevail.

Here are my three gifts:

  1. GRATITUDE: God, help me to appreciate the people who are trying to make our world a more peaceful and life-affirming place. Help me to appreciate the people I love and care about. Help me to be more mindful of their place in your world, their generosity and kindness. Remind me how much I am a better person because of them and remind me to offer a "thank you" to them that comes from the heart.
  2. QUIET MOMENTS: The pace of Christmas is too fast and demanding, so dear God, please slow me down so I can enjoy the pleasure of your company. Help me to notice you more often in my encounters with others. Help me to unplug and breathe deeply. This year, help me to notice in those quiet moments the opportunities to be a light, especially with people who may think differently than me. Let my quiet moments bring me deeper into your way of relating: compassion, listening, acceptance.
  3. COURAGE: The courage to make this Christmas Season a truly happy and peaceful time. Dear God, help me to say "no thank you" when I need to say no, to regroup and to refocus when the demands of this Season seem overwhelming and I feel unsettled and unsure. Help me be a peaceful person and a peaceful presence to others. It takes courage to keep your cool in stressful times, so dear God, give me the courage to maintain an inner focus on what really matters and let go of the rest.
I also would like to have the courage to speak about fairness, about the dignity of all people, the courage to speak up and the courage to listen more to those with whom I disagree so that we might come to a more unified space. Our world could use more courage, more quiet and more gratitude. What do you want for Christmas?

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