I thought you might appreciate this road sign just down the road from the Catholic church in the Waitangi township on the Chatham Islands. The cemetery is also up this road and that would have made a great fourth pointer on the sign!

In these Advent reflections a few days ago we met John the Baptist remembering him as the one who pointed away from himself and towards Jesus.

Today we can take this a little further as in the gospel reading Jesus reminds us that even though John the Baptist was the greatest of men, “the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.”

The kingdom of heaven is a reality that is both present and future.  Some people faithfully endure their earthly existence living in hope of the future kingdom. But Jesus often reminds us that life with God enables the future kingdom to become a present reality for us here on earth.

Our problem is that we lose the eternal perspective and allow present, tangible and temporal realities to replace God. We do this when we grasp at and hold on to things that may be good in themselves, but still are only the signs that point us to God.

To make matters more complicated we are surrounded by signs pointing in every direction. Navigating a daily direction cannot be left to chance. It requires an intimate relationship with God and a keen and active discernment.

When I hold onto financial and material security, people and relationships, I will continually be disappointed and burdened.

If I hold onto the Chatham Island signpost I will never reach the hospital, the church or the bottle store.

Then the gospel readings finishes with a pretty strong wake-up call: “If anyone has ears to hear, let them listen!”

An Invitation:

There will be many important aspects in your life today, family, friends, work, social life, Christmas preparations and end-of-year busy-ness. Become aware of how each of these can take centre place in your life causing anxiety and leaving you feeling over-burdened. 

Take a moment to be aware of your breathing, and remember that Jesus who gives you this breath is the only stable and reliable centre for your life.

Now you can really relax!

8 Responses to "relax"
  1. Thanks Father for this reflection. I am going to instead of using phone to look at news site open your reflections to read and ponder. Merry Christmas.

    • Thank you, Father John. Today concludes my daily commitment to school life this year. Your reflective words this morning remind me of this time of relaxation and contemplation as I ponder the life-giving spirit of peace, goodwill and mercy within each one of us.
      Every day is Christmas.

  2. Breathing and pondering God !!! How simple and relaxing is that. Mmmmm. Thanks John for reminding me the simplicity of letting go and being with God…
    4 Pointing the way

  3. A most excellent honest truthful article Very thought provoking thankyou for these gentle reminders during this time. God bless

  4. Thank you for the most excellent reflection and especially the “signs” it was good to have something which made me laugh out loud – you are right “cemetery” would have made a great 4th sign.

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