“The third week of Advent means that Christmas is close enough to have a different color candle in the wreath and the priest wears different vestments. Our waiting is almost over, but not quite. The daybreak is beginning to brighten the sky ever so softly, and the readings for today speak more clearly of the joy that is yet to come.

We are anticipating the Incarnation, God made flesh. In Christ, we see the answer to our greatest question of identity. Who are we? We are the sons and daughters of God. We are made in his image, through Christ, who is the incarnation of God.

Most psychological disorders, and all emotional difficulties really, can be related in some way to issues of identity. We all need to know who we are and most of us have a lot of trouble with that. You are the masterpiece of God. You are the pinnacle of all creation, made in the Creator’s image. In your very being, which existed from the moment of your conception, before you did anything, you had infinite value.

As Christmas comes closer, take a few moments to reflect on your own being. Realize that God is your father, and that you have “features” that come from him just as you do from your biological mom and dad. Those features are not merely physical ones; though God has a nose and ears like you do. They also include the deepest parts of your very being. You are a masterpiece, and the only proper disposition to have toward yourself is of wonder and awe. Reflect on yourself as a masterpiece, and give thanks and glory to God, the artist who created you. Look to the Incarnation of Jesus as the moment that he begins to “fully reveal man to man himself.” What has been revealed is that you are made in the image of Love, out of Love, and for Love.”

Dr. Greg Bottaro is the founder and executive director of the CatholicPsych Institute. He recently launched a course on Catholic Mindfulness at www.catholicmindfulness.com to help people discover their identity and find true psychological and spiritual peace as children of God.

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