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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Looking Back...

My local adoration chapel friend Mary from Superior, WI gave me a great little article/reflection put together by columnist  Fr. Ron Rolheiser OMI entitled “Worldy Wisdom on the Meaning of Christmas”. The article is essentially a series of quotes that definitively sums up -  in rather unconventional and striking ways - the importance of Christmas. I thought it was fitting to post today as we move forward into the New Year. Here’s just a few of them… looking back.
“Even at Christmas, when halos are pre-tested by focus groups for inclusion in mass market campaigns, they are hard to see. ... This is how halos are seen, by looking up into largeness, by tucking smallness into folds of infinity. I do not know this by contemplating shimmering trees. Rather there was a woman, busy at the Christmas table, and I looked up to catch a rim of radiance etching her face, to notice curves of light sliding along her shape. She out-glowed the candles. All the noise of the room left my ears and silence sharpened my sight. When this happens, I do not get overly excited. I merely allow love to be renewed, for that is the mission of haloes, the reason they are given to us. ... But when haloes fade, they do not abruptly vanish, abandoning us to the lesser light. They recede, as Gabriel departed from Mary, leaving us pregnant.” John Shea
“The incarnation does not mean that God saves us from the pains of this life. It means that God-is-with-us. For the Christian, just as for everyone else, there will be cold, lonely seasons, seasons of sickness, seasons of frustration, and a season within which we will die. Christmas does not give us a ladder to climb out of the human condition. It gives us a drill that lets us burrow into heart of everything that is and, there, find it shimmering with divinity.” Avery Dulle
“…Until Christmas comes again. [It is] then we are called at the deepest, most subconscious, least cognizant level to begin to live again. Christmas brings us all back to the crib of life to start over again: aware of what has gone before, conscious that nothing can last, but full of hope that this time, finally, we can learn what it takes to live well, grow to full stature of soul and spirit, and get it right.” Joan Chittiste
 “God is not found in monasteries, but in our homes. Wherever you find husband and wife, that's where you find God; wherever children and petty cares and cooking and arguments and reconciliation are, that's where God is too. The God I'm telling about, the domestic one, not the monastic one, that's the real God.” Nikos Kazantzakis
I think many can relate to that last quote. Nothing against the monastic life…to be sure, I adore and pray for its special devotion - but Christmas time provides the unique opportunity to know God’s presence, especially as we once again encounter and dialogue with our families, relatives, or friends. First, we cherish the time to re-commit our bonds, our blood ties. We delight in the gift gifting and surprise even though most of us go well beyond our necessity. We delight in the free consumption of meals, beverages, and treats; often to the point of physical exhaustion. Finally we argue. Yes we argue over trite things like board game answers and rules, and whose friggen turn is it anyway? Would it ever be Christmas without children complaining, parents yelling, and relatives wondering what’s it all about?

It's so rewardingly special and dysfunctional!

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