Dear St. Thomas Family and Friends,

I put water in the humidifier. I watered the Christmas tree. I watered the rosemary tree we were gifted. I reminded myself to drink more water. (See what I did there?) Reminding is not the same as doing. 

We are entering the dry season. The air in our houses is dryer than in summer. You may be adding humidity to your homes. You might even be moisturizing your hands or feet. You might be thinking about drinking more water. We need water to survive. We know that it is good for us. Some of you are good at drinking enough of it. I’ve had two cups of coffee this morning. I’ve been told that doesn’t count. 

It is work to do what is good for us. Most of us struggle for the discipline to do what is good. You do not hear from me, “Water is so good for me, it’s a pleasure to drink my 6-8 glasses a day!” We know that reading the Bible is good for us. We know that setting aside time to pray is good for us. We know that putting more balance into our daily schedules is good for us. We know that eating right is good for us. We know that generosity is good for us. We know that humility is good for us. That’s enough of my weaknesses for one paragraph! Yet, doing those things is like drinking water. We need them for health and well-being. 

The older I get, the more I believe that we can’t tell others what to do. We can however, model a disciplined life and model ourselves after those more disciplined than ourselves. I have yet to meet anyone who is disciplined in all areas. I do know folks who remember to water their plants and help them grow. I can pay attention to them and hopefully be inspired. I do know folks who carry a container of water with them and can use them as an example for my life and drink one more glass of water. I do know many who consistently pray. They are icons God can use to inspire me to start again, or stick with it. We all know folks who are generous all the time. They are inspiring and their lives encourage us to hold less tightly to our stuff. We know a few who are truly humble and they help us to remember how to see ourselves and others. 

If all you can do today is put some water in your humidifier, that is enough. If all you can do today is drink one glass of water and two coffees, that is enough. If all you can do today is watch one person who inspires you, that is enough. We are not in this alone. God is with us and is faithful. He waters us with the rain of the Holy Spirit. God has promised to pour the Spirit out on us all. God puts people in our lives to remind us that we have been given living water. God even reminds us that we are thirsty, then invites us to drink.

I pray that during the Christmas season, you will be nourished with living water. My hope is that you will be surprised at being filled without working or paying for it, that the gift of Christmas will fill you with peace.

Fr. Ralph+

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