Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Gifts of Advent Day 15: The Hardest Thing to Let Go

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28)

As we’ve been reflecting here on simplicity and as you look for new and creative ways to simplify your life, you might find yourself getting stuck over particular possessions or that one drawer in your desk where you’re storing old letters. As you reminisce about Christmases past, there might be that year when family tension overshadowed the celebration that year. You either avoid thinking about it or it’s all you can think about and you lose the memories of happier times. This might be the first Christmas without the presence of a dearly loved friend or family member.

We can become extreme minimalists, we can give away most of our possessions to the poor, we can simplify our external lives to the barest necessities, but the hardest thing to let go of might be the deeply emotional memories and conflicts in our past.

The holidays often surface these difficulties. Advent offers us the opportunity each year to come to a place of peace and reconciliation with our past. Sometimes the issue is the loss of great happiness. Other times it’s the looming presence of an unresolved struggle. These are the things that tie our inner lives into complex knots no matter how hard we work to simplify the surface.

Gifts of Advent | Donation

Take a Deep Breath

Sometimes it helps to begin with our goal in mind. As we take our need for letting go to prayer today, we call on the words of Jesus on the cross: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Resting in the Lord makes letting go of the difficult things in our lives at least possible, if not easy.

A Simple Gift

What emotional clutter is getting in your way? Sometimes we throw ourselves into the hectic pace of Christmas preparations for the very purpose of avoiding deeper issues. If you suspect that you might be doing this, take some time to pray about it and reflect on it. If you’re not ready to deal with it at this time, promise yourself that you’ll revisit it in the new year. You might find it helpful to talk to a professional or a trusted friend or you might be able to work on it yourself through prayer and journaling.


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