Time for Preparing, Peace be in Your Heart

As I was shopping yesterday evening, I found myself suddenly realize a terrible fact: I have not yet set my dried fruit to soak for my Christmas baking. This caused a spike of anxiety - will it be ready next week if I start soaking it today or tomorrow? Will I be too busy to do my baking, regardless of whether or not the fruit is ready? Will I get caught up in life and forget to make my fruit cake and bread? Not the most peaceful of thoughts! Then, of course, was the next level of anxiety - what pan would I use to soak the fruit, but more important, where in the grocery store were the dried fruits I needed, because they were not with the raisins...

If only I had been more prepared!

Well, I paused for a moment. Getting anxious in the grocery store does not serve anyone. When I took a moment to calm my thoughts to peaceful tranquility, I realized I was in the aisle with my pan solution - an aluminum tray with lid. I put the tray in my cart and decided to go calmly wandering with my eyes open. It worked - I found the bags of dried fruit. They were in produce, of course, between the produce and the bakery section. Right where I could have seen as I walked in - if only I had been looking for and been able to recognize the right signs.

This time of the year we talk about preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ, of being kind to neighbors, generous, loving and giving. Christ is always coming, always here, and has been here, showing us the Kingdom of God, far longer than the weeks around Christmas. Instead of becoming anxious because Christ is not where we expect him to be, pause a moment. Take a deep breath, slowly look around with eyes open. The signs are everywhere, if only we knew how to recognize them. But guess what? We do know how to recognize the signs, and it doesn't even take special preparation. Just be open, centered on the peace within your heart, taking time to be mindful, and you will see Christ where you least expect him.

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