While Cleary University is a secular business school, we encourage students to seek spiritual inspiration wherever they can find it. Our campus is especially supportive of a diversity of spiritual practices, and at this time of year, we recognize the inspiration in the season.
The holidays of December – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, even the winter solstice – focus on finding light in the darkness, which can be considered a metaphor for the search for wisdom. Although Cleary students come from all points on the globe, here in Michigan, we are experiencing the shortest days of light of the year, and increasingly cold temperatures.
Thus, anything that guides us toward light and warmth is welcome!
The time leading up to Christmas, known as Advent, is a time of waiting and anticipation. Associate Dean of Students Matt Oliver considers this time a season of preparation.
“Things are constantly being revealed,” he says. “Especially through social media, we are overloaded, but we can look at the holiday season as a time to reflect, and also as a time to awaken. Maybe we’ve been asleep for a while, maybe we’ve been inundated with news, negativity, maybe depression, loneliness, or anxiety, that can overwhelm.”
This season, says Oliver, is a time to recognize what has happened to us mentally, physically, or emotionally, so we can begin to emerge from that slumber, “and hopefully be encouraged by new hope, new year.”
We can choose to use this time to spiritually and physically awaken, Oliver says, referring to a piece written in 2006 by his friend Drew Denton, who teaches at Emory University and works at the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Atlanta.
Denton wrote, “This is a period of time that I previously anticipated to bring much contemplation and action concerning my future in the shadowy, scary world that looms after graduation.”
“Our futures are not free-standing structures…Unless we are focused on the entire structure—and not in the polishing of our own individual surfaces—we will not end up in the right place,” he wrote.
As our campus quiets for the season, with our students gone home to celebrate and rest between semesters, we hope for the light and wisdom to reach every member of our community and bring us, healthfully, together in the new year. However you celebrate, Cleary University wishes you peace, contemplation, and renewed energy to greet what lies ahead!