Merry Christmas today and tomorrow

The shepherds watching their flock on the night Christ was born were terrified when an angel suddenly stood in their midst to deliver the news. The angel’s words, “Don’t be afraid…” was not just an invitation to not be afraid of that sudden appearance but to step completely out of fear. It was not just for the shepherds but for all humans. Those shepherds reflected the fear in human hearts, past, present and future. They had probably internalized things going on around them at the time, just like today. The world we are living in and leaving for the next generation seems rather dark. I know I need that message given by the angels that night, “Fear not.”

But why? “A great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide” has just occurred, said the angel. Every human who has a reason to fear can share in this new reality. It is an event that truly brings cheer and merriment to the world for all people. It is not only meant for Christians. No one has exclusive rights to peace and joy after all. It is for everyone who belongs to the human family. And thank God, the Christ of Christmas loves Hillary Clinton and all her supporters and loves Donald Trump and all his supporters. And Christ’s followers need to follow by loving across party lines.

Christ’s entry into the world is historical and timeless. Now, we can look into the future and know that regardless of what comes, a Saviour, The man referred to by the angel as Messiah and Master has entered our world and we all now have access to him. If this Christ is true, hope has entered our world regardless of how hopeless things seem.

Christmas is not just an event to celebrate yearly but a reality to live in and live from daily. And this is a perfect time to live the reality of Christmas. This time of terror within which is causing terror without and resulting in more terror.

May Christmas not be for a day or a season. We are doomed if it is. May tomorrow also be a day when Christ’s entry into the world makes a difference in our lives and is celebrated.

We do not participate in it by buying gifts but by receiving Christ within. It is a heart thing and not a commercial or church thing, thank God. But a heart thing that gets externalized. It is joy and peace within that is expressed and shared daily neutralizing fear and its effects, resulting in more peace within and without.

Tomorrow, we can live in the reality of Christmas. Tomorrow, Christmas is needed because tomorrow, we start to be reminded of the lack of joy and peace within and about us. And like I once wrote, “hope is not needed when there is hope, hope is needed when there is no hope.” Peace is not needed when there is peace, peace is needed when there is no peace.

I love Christmas. I love the season, the celebration, the carols and the sharing of gifts and goodwill. May we go beyond that and embody Christ when and where peace and joy are needed.

Merry Christmas to you today and tomorrow.

Mental Hygiene

In principle, mental hygiene is no different from physical hygiene. You need a soap, you need a means of applying the soap and you need consistency.

A soap’s function is to remove dirt while also nourishing the skin by replenishing lost nutrients. The ideal soap is natural and has nutrients that are similar to the body’s. Using a bad soap causes long term damage even if it appears to clean. The ideal soap represents truth. The mind can only be cleaned with truth since truth is what the mind was designed to contain and feed on, the same way our bodies were designed to feed only on natural and not synthetic substances.

I love applying this soap from Apostle Paul to my mind,

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

This thought makes it easy to identify thoughts that are not clean. Applying this soap again and again removes garbage thoughts and reveals beauty, potential, truth and purity within and keeps the mind free of trash. I know I need cleaning when I start to think thoughts that in my sober moments, I know are untrue and unwholesome. And just as dirt corrupts the underlying surface with time, unwholesome thoughts corrupt the mind when persisted in.

Mental hygiene requires practice. More than ever, we need practices that allow for mental stillness. Solitude is an indispensable practice for periodic mental cleansing. Periodically disconnecting from the external including social media and connecting with your interior space helps. Cleaning and other simple physical activities are also rich practices. They help to shut down mental chatter and make us more receptive to inspiration. While moving your limbs in the process of lifting physical dirt, your mind can become still enough for you to uncover insights within. The kingdom of God is within you after all. And once your mind is quiet, you can observe your thoughts. If you do not observe your thoughts, you cannot begin to clean your mind anymore than a cleaner can clean a room without being present. Cleaning requires presence and presence is a cleaner.

We can return our minds to truth in the various areas of our lives and society. Any thought or opinion that you have about anything at all can be based on truth or not. Thoughts that are not based on truth are much more harmful to you and to others than leaving your body unwashed for weeks. Thoughts about race and police brutality for example, need a lot of cleaning. Will violence against police truly arrest police brutality? What does screaming Black Lives Matter achieve if black lives do not matter to blacks? I believe we need mental cleaning when our thoughts on an issue are the same as the majority of people, because they are often untruth. But what is truth and where do you find it?