Holidays are such opportunities because vitality is intensified when three ways of experiencing life merge.
Memory is central to living. Memories are experiences we hang on to and use to make meaning in life. What we remember and how we weave together those remembrances help us know where we came from and who we are. Memories are fluid and constantly flow along, collecting new experiences to reshape our self-understanding. Holidays are filled with memories.
But, sometimes memories get frozen. Sometimes we cling so desperately to the faded summer that memories can become a prison. We get locked into the past that we created in our minds and can't be open to the present that is our life now.
Presence is also a powerful force in a vital life. Holidays are filled with presence. They are filled with food and music, with parties and people. Holiday experiences are focused occasions when we embrace the physical things around us, We are sometimes overwhelmed. All these come together to create experiences that help us know where we are and who we are.
But, sometimes we can be so immersed in the present that we lose track of yesterday's gifts. We lose touch with the rich soil of the past that make the present possible. Prayer is a pause that invites us to keep in touch with the long-view--to not be so absorbed by the moment that we lose its meaning for our lives.
Vitality in life is also enhanced when anticipation is present. Each moment leans forward. The future and how we imagine it gives energy to our lives. Holidays are times when we prepare and anticipate, dreaming of what is possible and working to make our dreams come true.
But, sometimes we are so driven by our need to fill that future with our vision that we miss the gifts that come as a surprise. We don't see gifts of grace because we are frozen by our image of what grace ought to be. We are so busy making the future look like what we think it should that we don't allow ourselves to experience the presence of love in the moment. We are so consumed by activity to fill the future that the soil of our past can't hold us and give us a place of rest and peace.
Memory, presence and anticipation--all important parts of being alive. Allow them to flow together during the holiday time. Rest in good memories, embrace present moments, anticipate gifts of tomorrow. Let them all flow together to enrich your holiday.