Digging Deeper

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We keep our Christmas decorations in our small, side garage.  We don’t park a car in this garage because it serves as a storage facility and an extension of my laundry room.  In order to reach the decorations, I have to move quite a few items out of the way – laundry hampers, coats, wrapping paper, a lamp, a box of old framed photos.  I feel like I’m digging a tunnel to get to the decorations so I can excavate the boxes.  Then, I take each box out through the newly created maze one by one to the dining room where we unpack everything to decorate the tree and the rest of the house.

I love all of the trappings of Christmas – the songs, lights, decorations, movies.  Many Santas and snowmen adorn our home.  But sometimes we have to rethink the more commercial and secular aspects of the holiday in order to find the deeper spiritual meaning.  We must focus on the nativity scenes that point us to the true purpose of Christmas.  When we worship during the Christmas season, we remember God’s gift of his son Jesus to save humanity.  When we concentrate on God’s love for us, we grow in our faith and our understanding.    

And hopefully, that understanding will lead us to dig deeper to get to the heart of the matter in other situations as well.  In this age of information and disinformation, we must search to find the truth.  When we feel unhappy or upset, we often must dive deep within ourselves to identify the root of our discontent.  At times, we must look past others’ behavior to discover why they act or speak the way they do.  If we can clear away the emotional and mental clutter of our everyday situations, we can better see the humanity in the mirror and all around us.   

If only digging deeper to discover more about ourselves and others was as easy as mining through my garage to find the Christmas decorations.  In order to go beyond the surface and find true connection with another person, we must reveal our own vulnerability.  So, first, we have to unearth our own feelings, which is not always a simple endeavor.   Many of us stay busy and fill our time so that we don’t find our blind spots.  Then, once we know what we want to express to another, we must take a risk and expose our own emotions and thoughts to the other person.  But that can be terrifying.  We don’t want to look or feel weak.  The fear of rejection and the desire to avoid pain are strong and palpable.  

While we cannot always skirt emotional discomfort, we need to take chances sometimes because our God-given yearning for human connection is powerful and unrelenting.  King David said, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually.”   1 Chronicles 16:11.  God can provide us with guidance and comfort to help us strengthen our bonds with others.

At this time of the year, let us dig deeper to celebrate the love of God as demonstrated in Jesus’ birth and the authentic relationships that God helps us build with one another.  

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