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Catching the spirit of Christmas is like catching a wave. For surfers, the ideal is streaking through a rolling sun-sparkled tunnel of water bluer than sky. For Christmas, it's riding the joyful energy of millions celebrating the possibility for peace on earth and goodwill for all.

I'm no surfer, but I've clocked enough time in the water to know enjoying the sport requires appreciating the entire experience – the waiting, watching, paddling and even the wipeouts.

Like unpredictable waves, the energy of Christmas is powerful, albeit more subtle. Learning to surf it involves appreciating the full range of experiences through which we encounter it. Expectations about how it should look or feel can hinder our ability to appreciate how it manifests.

While there are peak moments of joy, hope, peace, and love, expecting every experience to evoke that level of excitement burdens Christmas with unnecessary baggage. Surfing with baggage is foolhardy.

So, if there are times when the excitement seems to elude you this season, relax. Appreciate your unique perspective, and give thanks for the blessings ahead. Another wave will come, and if it's yours to catch, you'll be perfectly positioned when it breaks.

Feeling rushed or overwhelmed? Let a wave pass; consider ducking under it by declining invitations. Allow any stress to wash over you, affirm renewal, and trust Spirit within is providing the energy to catch your wave.

For those grieving or facing life transitions, Christmas can be especially challenging. If caught beneath a wave, be gentle with yourself. Take time for meditation. Get support from those you trust and love, and know that the healing power of God within provides all the strength, courage and faith you’ll need to dive back in when the time is right.

Throughout this Advent season, no matter what conditions you encounter, I pray the power and glory of God sustains, uplifts and prepares you for God's Love within to be born anew.