New Year's resolution: Make ‘God with us’ a way of life
Christmas Day is over. Perhaps you are already looking back with a sigh, wishing you could prolong it. Well, you can! The liturgical season of Christmas goes through Jan. 13 this year. But you don’t have to stop there. You can extend the grace of Christmas to the entire year.
There was no room for the Holy Family in the inn, but you can make a room for Jesus in your heart. Have you thought of tying your New Year’s resolution to making “God with us” a way of life?
I am not referring to taking up good works, such as serving the poor – although these are important. Our country, our church, our families need something more in these trying times. A deepening relationship with God will have more lasting impact than all our works. Good works are soulless and become burdensome when not grounded in intimacy with God. Jesus gave us himself at Christmas. It is time for us to give ourselves more fully to him. How can we do so concretely? Here are some suggestions.
Are you setting aside time for prayer every day? If not, start. If you are praying daily, can you pray longer? With better attention? Move from vocal prayer to mental prayer? From petitions to praise? Spend time in weekly eucharistic adoration?
Can you begin practicing the presence of God? Put more reminders of God around your home? Set your phone or watch to alert you to think of him at specific times? Do an examination of conscience every night?
Can you swap some of your fiction reading for spiritual books? Get off social media and read the Bible? Listen to hymns in place of pop songs? Keep the radio off in the car to learn to appreciate silence? Fast for one meal or one day every week?
How about looking for a good spiritual director? Taking advantage of the sacrament of reconciliation more often? Cultivating spiritual friendships? Implementing family prayers? Discussing spiritual subjects with your spouse?
Could you go to Mass more often? Make a regular spiritual communion, cultivating in your heart a desire for Jesus in the Eucharist? Offer your day to God every morning?
Try doing your work well out of love for God. Cleaning your home as though he were always your guest. Using the tone of voice with your children that you would use with the child Jesus. Answering others with patience because God has been so patient with you. Giving him sovereignty over your finances. Surrendering one thing you have consciously held back from him.
Have you ever thought of making a home altar? Setting aside a spare room for prayer? Staying after Mass a few minutes to commune with Jesus? Going on a retreat?
The Christmas season should change us. It should make our lives more Christian, more tuned to heaven. Where is Jesus to stay, now that December has passed? Will he find a place with you? “Let every heart prepare him room.”
Connie Rossini is a member of St. Peter Parish in Omaha. She is co-author of “The Contemplative Rosary” released by EWTN Publishing and author of four other books on Catholic spirituality.