Spirituality - A Holiday For the Hopeful

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Let's be honest.
This year has been tough - tough on bank accounts, tough on employment, and overall, tough on our emotional and spiritual well being.
The result? People who have saved a lifetime have lost their hard earned money as Wall Street numbers continue to plummet.
People who have devoted their lives to an employer have been laid off without severance or financial security.
People who have been able to afford luxury can no longer afford necessities.
And, more importantly, people who have devoted their lives to helping others are finding it difficult to survive themselves, much less provide and assist the less fortunate.
Unfortunately, when times get tough and people are down and out, morale suffers and hope is lost.
Spirituality goes out the window and remorse is a thing of the past.
The consequences of this downward spiral are often drastic - crime increases, stress increases, and happiness decreases.
What a way to enter the holiday season! Because I, too, have felt the effects of a dwindling economy, I've struggled to grasp the positive among the negative in society.
I keep thinking, "We're not ready for the season of giving - I have nothing to give.
" Therefore, how do we embrace this upcoming season of giving and hope without any hope at all? How do we refrain from self pity and sorrow that overcomes us on a daily basis or from paycheck to paycheck? Maybe, just maybe, we all need an epiphany.
For some reason, though, epiphanies occur when we least expect them to.
I discovered another today.
As I walked along the cobble stone street that led to my parish, I found some inspiration and a glimpse of hope, literally.
Peering out behind the trees, almost invisible with the overgrown bushes, was a Celestine angel statue.
Among a trail of religious statues, this little angel was hiding, hoping, and waiting for someone to recognize the beauty she possessed.
I found it to be an ironic sight.
Catholic statues are typically in clear view, well maintained and visible to the naked eye.
However, this religious statue was hidden, tattered, and sporting a broken wing, just like many of us trying to survive in the world today.
Religious statues, whether broken or in gleaming form, can bring back the hope of the season when the majority has lost all hope.
Just like that broken angel, the season of giving, renewal, and birth can bring back something that has been lost - not money, not job security, but rather a sense of peace, serenity, and community togetherness.
When all is lost - whether from the stock market or the job market - look to garden statues peering from behind a bush or in plain sight for the inspiration so many need to find this time of the year.
In faith, we find hope.
And with the birth of our savior, comes renewal.
Renewal can bring change to society and change to our souls.
When all feels lost, take a closer look and see the beauty that is hidden.
Embrace the lost and find the hope this holiday season.

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