Some of my earliest memories of feeling a sense of community began in the neighborhood where I grew up. There were plenty of kids roaming free as we ran in and out of each other’s homes and throughout the area creating all kinds of activities to keep us connected and entertained.
I can still envision the delightful smiles on our neighbors’ faces when they answered the door to find our little choir of Christmas carolers on snowy holiday evenings. It felt good to spread “Joy to the World” in our little corner of it, and I realize now how blessed I was to feel so safe and connected there. I’ve tried to recreate it wherever I’ve lived since.
In the spirit of the season, editor Linda Sechrist’s uplifting feature, “The Emerging Power of ‘We’": Awakening to the Evolution of Community” (page 36), reminds us that we’re all interconnected, interdependent and in need of community. In a related feature, “What Community Really Means,” Linda explains that being able to talk openly and intimately while supporting one another is the basis for feeling connected. You’ll find several local opportunities for developing and strengthening your connections with others on page 38.
Also in keeping with the holiday season, this month’s Wise Words takes us on a spiritual journey with the story of Mary Neal, an orthopedic surgeon and author who has an inspiring story to tell.
When I met Dr. Neal last summer in Jackson, Wyoming, I recognized that somehow she had been touched by the Divine in a powerful way. Sharing her near-death experience (NDE) with me—which is detailed in her bestselling books about surviving a kayak accident that held her underwater for 30 minutes—was a powerful reminder that miracles are real and that God intervenes in our lives all the time, sometimes in ways that change us forever. I hope you are as inspired as I was when you read our interview with Dr. Mary on page 34.
We also focus this month on nourishing ourselves with Earth-friendly holiday practices, from updating family traditions and serving vegan treats to reducing food waste, finding spirit-lifting holiday gifts and choosing safe and eco-smart pet toys.
May you join me in setting the intention to look for and experience loving connections with everyone that God brings to you this holiday season and pay attention to the miracles and magic around you in the most ordinary places—and sing some holiday songs along the way!