Mary and Joseph had to carve out a place to sleep where animals stay, right in the midst of the scratchy straw and smelly dung. Mary went into labor and suffered the pain and uncertainty of childbirth with little support. And then Jesus was there - God was swaddled and snuggled into a feeding trough for animals.
This reality of God With Us is profound. Life has sure felt scratchy and smelly this year. For me, it's been a painful year of unfamiliar interpersonal drama. God has been showing up for me, but it's taken everything in me at times to keep my eyes on him and stay grounded. Maybe you can relate.
God didn't shy away from the mess of our life on earth. Instead, he snuggled right in and made the uncomfortable conditions his home. This is the kind of "acceptance" we talk about in mindfulness practice. We accept that we are already where we are (straw and all), and then we choose our next step with intentionality. God didn't demand better quarters (although he certainly deserved them). Instead, he made a home in the straw and invited angels and shepherds for a visit.
I'm starting to also find a home here - to snuggle into that manger with Jesus and find that I have what I need. We're all in good company with him.
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I am Irene Kraegel. I am licensed as a clinical psychologist and teach mindfulness on a faith-based university campus. I practice mindfulness because it opens me up to God (a.k.a. brings joy). I am writing here in hopes of sharing some of my experiences and thoughts related to the practice of mindfulness in the life of a Christian. Thanks for reading!
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