“Away In A Manger”, no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head”. The song rings in my head and in my heart as I arise on this fourth Sunday of Advent. For three Sundays, we have been hearing, through Scripture and song, of His coming…..”Make Straight the Pathway”, resonating from John the Baptist in New Testament readings.
As I re-light the three purple candles and now the new tall pink one, I think of Mary, Virgin, Mother of God, how amazing she must always be, remembered, revered, the embodiment of grace. Amazing grace! Faithfully guided, simply obedient and now the Queen of Queens holding the Prince of Peace.
Ah! Breathtaking just thinking about simplicity, faithfulness, guidance, direction. Words ﬁlled with so much meaning, pregnant with possibility and hope, yet so difﬁcult to fully embrace in our rushed, razzle-dazzle world. Holiday hysteria makes us frenetic with decorating, shopping, cooking, entertaining, parties, yes, church activities too. This is again a busy, busy time of the year.
And how do I ﬁnd myself, annually, falling into this pattern that we desperately try to avoid, beginning in September or October when the ﬁrst signs of Christmas, to come, are shown in stores, in newspaper articles or blasted on our televisions and telephone apps. How do I still get caught in the frenzy, when all we really want is time, reﬂection, joy with family and peace on earth!
A virus, last week, had me bedridden, for days. Caught off guard, though every effort had been made to cover nose and mouth when others were coughing. I had thought a regimen of extra vitamin C, increased ﬂuids and more rest, a projected panacea as these annual maladies begin to hit our work places, churches, homes and schools, would keep me on “schedule”. But even with preparation, viruses prove that anyone can be a victim. Viruses do not discriminate, so the demand to stop, pause and heal, is the only requisite for the remaining days, before Christmas.
Sitting in the big recliner, stuffy, coughing, wondering when I’d be able to return to norm, I watched a fat, grey dove, ﬂy from the bird bath and land on the driveway. Peeking on this recently swept driveway, I wondered what could he be ﬁnding there. Leaves had been brushed away a couple of days before….and seeds appeared nonexistent, yet the dove continued and was soon joined by a mate, obviously conﬁdent as well, for soon they were side by side peeking on concrete.
Pansies blossomed in near-by planters but other than that, life-sustaining elements were not evident to my eye. Yet, the full-breasted doves continued for maybe ten minutes before they ﬂew away. Their bodies conﬁrmed they were not starved, their vigilance in pursuing “something” demonstrated their tenacity and instinct, because like hors-frost or manna for the Israelites, in the Bible, they ate and then moved on.
In the Silence of the morning….I PAUSE. I REFLECT. i AM AWED by the beauty of nature…..the continuity of time….the relevance of the Manger, the CHRIST CHILD, A SAVIOR, promised for many years: THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.
And yes, while tree lights twinkle and the Nativity Creche takes us back to the lowly stable with Mary and Joseph; the bright star that led the Wise Men to Bethlehem beckons us to see the wonder of Christmas: GIFTS SIMPLE……LOVE SUPREME….PEACE SUBLIME.
WISHING ALL OF YOU…..
A MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HEALTHY, HAPPY NEW YEAR. And may family, your family, be the greatest gift around your Christmas tree.
AS WE:, “Let There be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me”.
The Staff and Management of your Milwaukee Community Journal.
May God Continue To Bless US ALL!