Here we are….the countdown to Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of year! It’s also the busiest, most stressful and chaotic time of year. So take time out for you; time for prayer and meditation. Now, some may cringe at the word “meditation”. It simply means to be still and open your heart and your mind to the Spirit of Christ. It’s a time to truly speak to and listen to God. Psalms 19:14 says “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
So you might wonder how to begin, how to use your time of meditation and prayer to reach a level of calmness that will transcend the chaos of the holidays. Start with a comfortable, quiet place to sit. This can be almost anywhere as long as it is not too hot, too cold, too bright or too loud. You want to be comfortable. Take a few deep cleansing breaths. Inhale for a count of 4, and exhale for a count of 8, controlling the exhale to completely empty the air from your lungs. Next, you will want to focus on relaxing your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Focus on each body part as you inhale and relax each muscle group as you exhale, releasing all tension. Start with your toes and your feet, moving on up to your calves and your knees, then your hips and thighs, etc. Once you are completely relaxed from your head to your toes, you can begin opening your heart in prayer.
There are two methods of meditation that I like to use. One is using a mantra, along with your deep breathing. I like to use this method if I am short on time. Close your eyes, and think of a phrase, a bible verse, or just a few words that mean something to you or are calming to you. Hope…Peace…Joy….or “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Repeat these words as you inhale and exhale, thinking of their meaning and focusing only on the words as you shut out everything else around you. Continue the mantra and breathing until you feel the stress melt away.
You can also use imagery in your meditation…an escape. Close your eyes, and imagine a place that makes you happy or that comforts you. A beach, a forest, a hillside meadow…..Imagine this place using all of your senses….taste the salty sea air, feel the ocean breeze on your face, hear the waves crashing on the beach, feel the warm sand between your toes. Shut out the rest of the world. Now, imagine that Jesus is there with you, sitting beside you. Talk with him. Listen to him. Share with him. Pray with him. Use this time and this place to pray and reflect. You can do this for minutes or hours, depending on your schedule. When you open your eyes, you will feel more calm, relaxed and balanced. Make time for yourself each day. Take care of you. Make yourself and your relationship with Christ a priority. This will not only get you through the holidays, but will become a wonderful tool throughout the New Year.
If you are in need of counseling services during this holiday season or anytime throughout the year, please contact us at 214-368-7373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you.
Merry Christmas from Drennan and Associates Christian Counseling