Editor’s Note: The Practicing Catholic welcomes guest contributor Charlotte Upah who provides inspiring weekly reflections at her Morning Reflection blog. Charlotte and her husband Stan are very active in church ministries, and they are also good friends to my family! I hope you will enjoy Charlotte’s reflections as much as I do. — Lisa
Happy New Year! This is a great time to resolve a “New Attitude.” An attitude that looks up, not down; the attitude that we are not alone, that God is around us in the people around us. An attitude that looks for the positives during negative times (the light in the darkness); the same wisdom that guided the three Kings to follow the star to seek the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem. And an attitude of thankfulness allowing us to look at our blessings so that we can share them with others (and God when loved ones leave us) just as the three Kings gave their gifts to Jesus—an attitude of gratitude.
The three wise men followed a star, God’s light, to find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. They would have missed the star if they had not “looked up.” What difference would a positive attitude make in our life when things don’t go our way? When the Kings looked up they saw a star put there to guide them on their journey. Who is being placed in our life here on earth to help guide us on our journey towards heaven? What sufferings are we being asked to bear so that our attitude towards life will change? A darkness so dark that we will seek the brightest of lights, God’s light, instead of crying, whining, or complaining?
God is the only one big enough, bright enough, comforting enough, to guide us out of the messes, struggles, or sorrows that have been placed in our life. Giving Him control and letting Him change us while we are suffering is to follow the light out of darkness.
The Kings were the leaders because they had the Wisdom to look up and seek God. Are we looking up for our wisdom? Or are we looking at what the world would say is right? And the Kings presented gifts, given with gratitude, for they knew that they had reached their destination in Jesus. They gave back to Jesus. Do we “look out” for God’s other children? Or are we storing our blessings by using them to entertain ourselves and fulfill our own desires? Do we look up, give thanks and give back to God what He has given us; sharing our time, talent, or treasures with those who need lifted up in some way?
If we look up we will find God waiting to take control of our lives. If we look up we will see God ready to guide us on our journey. If we look up we will see that God has placed someone in our life to help make the journey easier. If we look up we will see that there is someone around us who needs our time and treasures more than we do. Christmas is not over, Christmas has just begun.
The lights may have been taken off of our trees, but there is a much bigger light in our lives. The light of Scripture is our guiding star and the light of the new born Christ and His Church has been passed on to us through the generations to guide us on our life’s journey. The gifts we received have been unwrapped and tucked away in closets. But we all have received gifts that need to be given; gifts of our time and talents, gifts not material. Blessings given to us by God, are we wise enough to share them? Look Up! And may the Christmas Spirit continue to lift you.
Dear God: Praise be the newborn son you “gifted” for me. Thanks for the Kings you sent as a reminder that You are the one leading me on my own journey. Help me to keep a positive attitude even when things don’t seem to go my way. Keep reminding me that the only way I need to go is towards you, the worlds gifts don’t really matter. When I trip and stumble because I look down in sin or discouragement, help me to look up and accept your hand to get back up. Thank you for the blessings you have given me. Help me to have the wisdom of the Kings to give back all that I have been given in gratitude. Amen.