For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord (Ps. 89)

As Advent progressed toward this evening, my heart kept praying to be prepared for the coming of Jesus as much as our house was getting ready for the arrival of our children and grandchildren.

All this time, probably due to the prospect of finding ourselves all together again, I could only feel a profound gratitude for all the gifts that I received this year. This evening, then, as I walk up to the Nativity scene in the old country church, I will be one of the shepherds bringing my awe, love, and thanks to the little one who’s come to save the world.

These past weeks have not been a time of high consumerism. Busyness, yes. Getting the house ready takes us longer and longer, and our standards are rapidly lowerlng. Our not being exhausted has taken a higher priority.

As our hearts grew ever more expectant and ready for an explosion of joy, I also noticed around me people whose Advent is a time of fear and grieving: someone I deeply admire lost her spouse; the daughter of some dear friends got into a terrible accident and she now has been in a coma for ten days; a young woman dear to me has just been operated of breast cancer; a young friend will spend Christmas without her children’s father; another one is still caught in a debilitating illness; a loved one is trying to process the suicide attempt of a homeless she knows…

I really do not want to isolate myself in the bosom of family felicity and forget the rest of the world. What I can say to Godde is, Thank you so much for all that I have been given. Don’t worry for me any longer. There are so many folks who so badly need you. Please shower them with your love and grace.

This evening then, when we all go to mass to celebrate the coming of Jesus among us, I will also bring with me all those folks who are going through trying times, those I know and those I don’t. Godde holds us all in her arms and loves us so much more than what we can imagine.

I will also bring a prayer to the small crib filled with hay: Please, sweet Lord, help me get to know you, to love you, and to follow you, to be born, die, and resurrect with you. This is truly ‘all’ that I want.

Merry Christmas to you! May Godde’s love and grace be with you always! 

Art: David Jones, wood engraving, 1922