“If you can only know that your soul is God’s [Divine] child, that God is caring for it and training it, then it may become to you a source of deep divine communications.” ~Phillip Brooks [1835-1893]
While stopped at a local drug store to pick up a few household items, I was caught off guard by my visceral, adverse reaction to hearing Andy Williams’ 1963 holiday song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, as it blasted through the store’s loud speakers. Why was my Soul so disquieted by a mere song? A quick-to-judgment explanation was that the store was pushing the Christmas Season too soon – it was not even Thanksgiving Day yet!
Later, I realized the error of my reasoning; this version of the song applies to the holidays in general, not just to Christmas. My judging mind can easily impede Soul understandings if I am not careful. Of course my discomfort was not abated by such logic. I intentionally stayed Soul-present as the lyrics continued to blast the refrain:
“. . . much mistletoeing . . . kids jingle-belling . . . everyone telling you ‘be of good cheer’ . . . when friends come to call, it’s the hap – happiest season of all . . .”
I got the picture. The song’s Ozzie and Harriett-type portrait of the holidays, while not right or wrong, was not my Soul’s image of the full meaning of the holidays.
As I pondered this experience, a clear knowing emerged — something I knew, but had not solidly owned yet. As I age, it gets harder for me to swallow ‘cookie cutter truths.’ I am more quick to instinctually look at life in the face and ask: what is my Soul’s truth and how do I live it? In years past, I marveled at the courage of several older women I knew who spoke their truth with fierce honesty. Now, I suspect that this way of being may have less to do with human courage and more to do with having the wisdom to go with the flow. Why resist the persistent fierceness of God’s Spirit of Truth working within our Souls at this stage of life? It takes much more energy and is fruitless. What was I to learn about my Soul’s image of the meaning of the holidays and how to live this truth?
What I discovered was that while the image of the loving Mother caring for her child has always best portrayed the meaning of the holiday season for me, the nature in which I relate to this image has evolved over the years. These shifts directly correlate with my development – beginning with my focus on Mary and child in the physical realm [human nature] to the spiritual realm [divine nature] and now in my later years to the Soul-encompassing body, spirit, and mind, [human and divine union wholeness]. This image is the epitome of the feminine side of God/Source /Creator manifested in human form. The power of this Love is the heart of the holiday season.
In this spirit, I invite you to ask yourself with fierce honesty what the holidays mean to you at this stage of your life? And what do you need to do to live this truth? What would it be like for you to wake up January 1st knowing that in the spirit of a loving Soul-Care Mother you celebrated the holiday season honoring your Soul’s Truth. Is this a gift you want to give yourself?
Words for the Journey:
Many years ago, I ran across the following words by Phillip Brooks [1835-1893], the sixth Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts. I was so ‘taken’ by what I read that I secured a copy to the inside cover of my Prayer Book, where they remain today. I learned later that they are an excerpt from a sermon that Bishop Brooks preached, based on Luke 11:48, entitled ‘The Mother’s Wonder.’ I share them with you with the prayer that they support you in being a loving Soul-Care Mother to yourself as you journey through the holidays and beyond.
The Son of Mary was
a revelation in whose care He lived.
So is a man’s soul, his spiritual nature which is entrusted to his care,
is a perpetual revelation to him.
If you can only know that your soul is God’s child,
that God is caring for it and training it,
then it may become to you a source of deep divine communications.
God will speak to you through your own mysterious life.
He will show you His wisdom and goodness,
not in the heaven above you, but in the soul within you.
God will make you His fellow-worker in that
which is the most divine work of His of which we
can have any knowledge, the training and perfecting of a soul.
That is the privilege of every man who knows,
and finds his life and joy in knowing that the soul which lives
within him, the soul which he calls his soul, is the child of God.
May your Holiday celebrations be gloriously wonderful and bright. May you come to the New Year knowing you’re Soul Alive with new truths, joys, and love,
If you’d like to continue exploring this theme further, please take a look at my reference materials below.
Suggested Soul Practice & Reflection:
Witnessing Mother’s Soul-Care Love in Action in Others & The Spirit of the Mother’s Soul-Care Love
Toward Holy Ground: Spiritual Directions for the Second Half of Life, by Margaret Guenther