Daily Reflection
December 21st, 1999
Eileen Wirth
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Song of Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18
Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21
Luke 1:39-45

By now, it's quite likely that your Christmas tree is up and most of your holiday lights and decorations have transformed your home into a place of beauty.  But you're tired.  You've tromped through too many malls looking for a Pokemon toy that's sold out everywhere.  You've made one too many batches of homemade fudge.  If you get one more Christmas letter about a friend's child has just won a Rhodes Scholarship you will upchuck.

It's time to treat yourself to a peace and sanity inducing reminder of what this season is all about.  Use today's absolutely gorgeous readings as your text for the following exercise.

Tonight when your house has finally quieted down and everyone has gone to bed, turn out all the lights except those on the Christmas tree.  Select your favorite Christmas or Advent album (I am partial to Gentle Night by the St. Louis Jesuits) and play it softly in the background.  Sit by your Nativity scene and  read today's passages in order, starting with the  Song of Songs. Put all other thoughts, duties and  concerns aside.

Allow the power and beauty of the Scriptures  to enfold you in peace.

 For see, the winter is past
 the rains are over and gone.
 The flowers appear on the earth,
 the time of pruning the vines has come,
 and the song of the dover is heard in our land.
 The fig tree puts forth its figs,
 and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
 Arise my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!
Don't try to figure out what this means.  Just let it encompass you along with the lights and music.  You will feel the God of Advent taking over your being as you join the ancient Hebrews in anticipating the coming of the Messiah.  The blue light specials and Martha Stewart will vanish from your consciousness.

Take your time - maybe re-read the passage slowly or listen to your favorite soothing hymn or carol.  When you start to feel utterly at peace and very happy, continue with today's Psalm and join in its cry for joy - a joy that has nothing to do with locating the perfect gift for Grandpa on E-Bay.  Listen to a small voice within you telling you THIS is what Christmas is about.  You may even decide that a bag of pretzels will do just as well for the staff party as hand-decorated sugar cookies or realize that you want to take half an hour to visit your retired neighbor whose only child can't come home for Christmas.

Finally, turn with joy and anticipation to Luke's exquisite account of Mary's visit to Elizabeth.  Journey with Mary and feel her joy at the great coming event.  Let it wash over you.  Close your meditation with "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World."  No matter how tired you are, you won't want this to end.

To all my readers, peace and joy.  I hope my favorite pre-Christmas ritual brings you as much serenity and sanity as it does for me.

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