of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 25th, 2010
Joan Blandin Howard
Christian Spirituality Program
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|Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Mass at Midnight
Psalm 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13
Christmas Mass at Dawn
Psalm 97:1, 6, 11-12
The ones who wait for the One who comes
Just the mere thought of Christmas can bring visions of joy, excitement, family, friends, shopping and gifts. Or, it can bring visions of endless waiting and loneliness, overwhelming sorrow and separation and ongoing fear and darkness.
One of my favorite children’s Christmas story books begins “walk, walk, walk.” It tells the Christmas Story of Mary and Joseph along with their donkey and their very long walk. They “knock, knock, knock,” but are “sad” when there is “no more room in my house” for them. They end up in a barn with their donkey and the resident cows and cats and their kittens. Joseph covers Mary with “his coat so that she would be nice and warm.” They peacefully “sleep, sleep, sleep” in the hay. “ During the night… an exciting thing happened…a little baby.” “Hush, hush, hush.” Mary knew “little babies liked to be loved.”
Have you ever stayed up all night just to experience the dawn – the gradual dimming of the stars as light gently pushes back the darkness revealing the now? Somehow all is refreshed, brilliant – light has come.
Christmas is just this – Light blessing the now. Christmas is not the end of the Advent waiting and journeying. It is the dawn of Advent. It is Light blessing and sanctifying the journey, the waiting itself.
Who waits for whom? Who blesses whom? Parents, siblings, buddies and lovers pensively wait for those who are engaged in ministry, mission and service to come home. Parents eager with anticipation wait for the infant soon to be born. Parents, friends and strangers compassionately journey with the lost and forsaken. Longingly families and friends wait for the estranged. The outcast in yearning wait for welcome. The hungry in trust wait for the cook. The homeless in hope wait for the host. The jobless in faith wait for the employers. The imprisoned desiring freedom wait for the visitor. And children everywhere joyfully wait for the anticipated delight.
And so I walk, and I knock, and I wait. At times I sleep. At times I awake. At times I am cold. At times I am warmed. At times I am hungry. At times I am nourished and nurtured. But in the hush of Christmas I am invited to witness the gift of the Light that shines in the now. I am invited to notice and to receive the sanctifying presence within my journey, my waiting. I am invited to sing Alleluias to the Christ in my life. To Jesus who walks with me in the now – wherever and however that is.
God bless us every one!
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