Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas C.M. Countdown, Day 16

"We choose between Ideas.––It is well, however, to know what it is that we choose between. Things are only signs which represent ideas. Several times a day we shall find two ideas presented to our minds; and we must make our choice upon right and reasonable grounds. The things themselves which stand for the ideas may not seem to matter much; but the choice matters. Every such exercise makes personality the stronger; while it grows the weaker for every choice we shirk." (p. 146)
I said in the last post that Habit can be enough to carry us through the mundane bits of daily life, and this is true. "We are all glad of a little of this kind of help, because it is well to do as others do in some of the small things of life..." (p. 144). But in this chapter, Charlotte Mason shows us why Will is an even better option, if we are up to the challenge. 

Life is a series of endless opportunities for choice, and though that may sound exhausting, it's really just one by one by one; and every choice makes us stronger for the ones that come after it. It's a bit like breathing Narnian air. This fits well with the current push towards living intentionally. Very small daily choices not only add up towards saving X or eradicating Y, but they let the Will do what it was meant to do. 

"...great occasions do not come to us at any time of our lives; or, if they do, they come in the guise of little matters of every day. Let us be aware of this. The 'great' sphere for our Will is in ourselves." (p. 142)
We choose between things, we choose between ideas, and we choose to give our obedience to those over us. The more we don't just pick up or pick out whatever's handy in the small matters, the better we get at making big choices.

And we have to allow others, old or young, the same privilege. "The gown may be becoming or the career may be suitable; but, in so far as we have chosen for another, we have done that other person an injury. We have taken away a chance from him or her of fulfilling the chief function of life, that of choosing" (p. 144).

We are not "choosy" in the sense of demanding jelly when there's only jam, because this choice-making is not self-seeking, not about personal gain. It is magnanimous,  "chivalrous." It is Mary and Joseph, hearing and accepting God's will for their lives. It is the Magi travelling so far, for what? Not to get their pictures taken with the Christ Child, but just to bring their gifts and worship.

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