Welcome to 2020!

We are in 2020! A new calendar year has begun and there are all sorts of posts on creating a new you. That is not this post, because you are fine just as you are! There are too many people saying there is something wrong with us. There are always things that we can do that can bring out our finer qualities to make it easier for others to see. An example of how to do that, is one of the new parts coming to us outcasts and saints.

In some ways, I began life almost as an outcast. Though you may not know it, I was born early in December, but was born earlier than expected and also born sick and got sicker. As a result, I did not arrive home to Mom and Dad, until Christmas morning in a large stocking. I am not sure if that has anything to do with it, but I love Christmas. That enjoyment of Christmas, changed once I returned to Christianity and began understanding the deeper meaning of our faith.

The Cologne Cathedral at the Christmas Market—

In December, my partner and I went to Germany for what felt like a trip of a lifetime, with the intention to visit Christmas Markets. While there we did some tourist highlights of cathedrals, holocaust memorial sights and did some city tours. There were several moments that we were stopped in our tracks with the enormity of what we were experiencing, but one common theme was community. There were several scriptures throughout that popped into mind, but this one is where I will begin today:

“with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2-6)

The line that stands out to me is one that almost seems to be missed, is “one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”. Did that catch you too? Let me narrow that down, “through all and in all”, is where I feel an extra skip in my chest. As outcasts and saints, many of us may feel like that one sheep wondering off with nobody noticing our departure, may also miss that God is with us. Let this new calendar year start with the acknowledgment of not needing to find a God, but to wake up to the already indwelling presence.

The part that we forget as many of us try to survive one day into the next, to be able to eat, have shelter, sobriety, acceptance from our family and _____________, is that everyone else is doing the same thing in their own way. As Brené Brown has mentioned, people are doing the very best that they can on any given day (paraphrased). As hard as that is to believe, take a look at the last year, how one day may have felt easier than the day before and vice versa. In fact, both days the best effort was put forth for that day, even if the accomplishment felt different.

No day is exactly the same!

We change constantly, with much of it being so subtle we do not notice the gradual shift. This subtlety might be the very reason, we can lose sight that others also have God within, even if our skin is a different color, our sexual orientation is different, our housing, gender identity, nationality, occupation, clothes and so on. God is still there! This is where it might be of benefit to remember one of the things angels always said when they appeared to someone, “do not be afraid”, because when we are living in fear, it takes life away.

Last month I said, “The unfortunate reality is that we have chosen to live from a place of fear and scarcity within both (spirituality and religion), which has us binding together to fight against each other.”, which is exactly what we do when we do not feel like we are enough. This is deeper than any resolution, goal or self improvement list, because love is the basis of what the purpose of the birth of Jesus is, it is to connect us to one another. (John 3:16)

All of this to say, our vision is ready to shift and move our spiritual vision to 20/20 (sorry it was too good to not use). Time to begin seeking the possibility to see God in ourselves and in others, because we are asked to do just that.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”(Mark 12:30-31)

If God is through us and in us; is there anyone that we cannot love?

It was an overwhelming feeling of love felt for strangers walking around Christmas Market after Market, that made me aware of the importance of community. To see groups of jovial people of all ages laughing together, spending time together and getting to know one another even more than before. There was a beauty that photos do not exactly capture, but a heart can. That is what Christmas and the new year is, a reminder that even the Grinch realized, “he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”.

Start this new decade and new year with writing down 10 things that you like about yourself that you wish others knew or knew more about.

Please join and share our Facebook Community “Among Outcasts and Saints” as you feel comfortable, so we can begin building our outcasts and saints, where open dialogue can be shared beyond the blog. If you are not on Facebook, no worries, there will be more ways to interact in months ahead. Thank you for being you and thank you for being here.

Cheers is to a healthy, peaceful and joyous 2020!

Top left is me at Neischwanstein Castle, next to the convent where tMaria Von Trapp was a Novice, middle left Munich Christmas Market, bottom left Love in Germany and bottom right a memorial at the Dachau Camp Memorial Sight.

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