We are now at the darkest time of the year, the time when the day is shortest and night the longest. We are also in a dark time in the country’s history. Delta, Omicron and supply chain shortages are now common terms in our daily lexicon.
We are facing an unprecedented crisis in mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Surveys show a major increase in the number of U.S. adults who report symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia during the pandemic, compared with surveys before the pandemic.” And our nation’s youth are suffering, in my opinion, more so due to their lack of emotional development and capacity to manage the stressors associated with Covid.
And yet, Christmas is five days away. How can we experience the hope, peace, joy and love that is associated with Advent while trying to cope with the uncertain times in which we are currently living? For me, it does begin with hope. Hope for a future in which our youth can be relieved of the trauma they’ve experienced over the last 21 months. Hope that our world can work together to defeat this indomitable foe.
I have to find peace through connection with God and Christ by maintaining a conscious contact through prayer and meditation. This is something that has helped me to not succumb to the overwhelming stress I’ve experienced in recent months.
I can find joy in the music I listen to that lifts my spirits when I may be feeling down. There’s nothing like a great song to touch my soul in a way that nothing else can. Spotify is my friend, as is my vinyl collection.
And I can find love in my support system. My wife Suzy, daughters Sarah and Lillie, and my extended family and friends are all living examples of the love that God shows me, when I allow myself to see it. For me, God does work through people and this is how I see the manifestation of God’s great works.
Hope, peace, joy and love leads to the Christ Consciousness that surpasses all understanding. I’ve seen this in my life as evidenced by the healing I’ve experienced from my bipolar diagnosis. I can’t explain it any other way. Yes, I have had therapy, medication, a viable support system, and a measure of hard work. But ultimately, I cannot describe how I’ve been given the ability to recover from what for many, is a debilitating disease. I am extremely grateful and humbled for the opportunity to know that Christ is walking with me, not just during this holiday season, but during all of the seasons of my life.