Well, here it is: after almost two weeks of celebrating it's the twelfth and final day of the Christmas season. Yesterday I confessed that I had lost some enthusiasm for my re-interpretation of the 12 days. But that was simply a deficit in blog-posting; keeping Christmas front and center in my heart and mind has been fairly easy - because I have been crafting a more deliberate "God-consciousness", a fact of practice that stands in front of the vicissitudes of sentiment and emotion.
Let me explain.
Sunday morning one of our conversations centered around prayer. A women in my class confessed to an ongoing crisis in faith. "I don't pray that much anymore," she said. "It doesn't really work - so why bother?"
It was an interesting observation. "Explain 'it doesn't really work'", I said.
"God isn't going to make things happen just because I asked for them," she said. "I know I'm not going to get what I want just because I pray, so I don't bother any more."
Obviously there was a lot to talk about, and there are no pat answers for such deeply personal statements of un-faith. But I'd like to share some of my thoughts in this space because I believe it comments on my earlier observation that I'm crafting "a more deliberate God-consciousness" in 2010.
First off, prayer is the language of relationship, not a drive-through window where we bark our order into the microphone and then "drive round to the first window" to pick up the goodies. The real issue is my friend's statement "So why bother?" I bother with prayer for a number of compelling reasons.
- I find that talking with God has the effect of aligning my essential being with the force that created and sustains the universe.
- I love God; the deliberate choice to spend regular and focused time in consideration of who God is and what God means to me has the effect of deepening that love.
- I have noted a correlation between time spent in prayer and devotion and the tendency of my way of living to be more Christ-like.
- When - to use an idea I introduced in my posting about my cousin Linda's response to her terminal prognosis - we can't tell anymore where we end and where God begins, we tend to make decisions and nurture thoughts and cultivate desires that are more recognizable as compatible with the will of God.
- I have noted an increase in creativity and productivity and life-satisfaction when I spend more time in prayer...
These are just a few of the reasons that I "bother" with prayer. None of them - and this is very important - none of these reasons have anything to do with prayer "working" in the sense that I get what I want or that God does what I beg for. Instead, what I want tends to shift and I become a part of God's plan rather than God being recruited as an ally for the furtherance of my plan.
This is what I mean when I talk about "crafting a more deliberate God-consciousness". The sacred rhythm of celebrations such as the 12-days-of-Christmas help a great deal when it comes to living faith as a day-to-day routine. That's why I am a strong believer in following the "Ecclesiastical Calendar" - at least to the extent that I am exposed to facets of faith on a routine basis that I might miss on my own.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the 2009-2010 Christmas season. My heartfelt prayer is this - for me, my family, and everyone who I'm in touch with via this blog:
- "May the light and the life that God planted into the heart of human experience at Christmas continue to fill each one of us with hope, peace, love and joy throughout the coming year. Amen!"