Here in the final week of Advent, Christmas is just a few short days away. As we hurry and scurry amidst the holiday rush, crushed by lists, lines, traffic, frustrations & elusive parking places, it’s a good idea to stop for a minute (or two) and think about the reason for this season.
Sentimental claptrap, Virginia, what are you getting at?
I’m not talking ‘Happy Holidays’ syrupy facades but sharing the real stuff: LOVE.
The holidays can be difficult and lonely. Maybe children and grandchildren can’t come this year, you’re single, or single-again facing an empty bed and empty stockings. Maybe illness has hospitalized your joy. Maybe you miss recently departed loved ones and your heart still smarts with super-sized loss. Or, maybe holiday memories are painful, something you’d rather forget.
There’s a lot of hurting hearts out there, deserts longing for a few drops of love.
“Purity of heart is the heart seeing, feeling and relating through the prism of love.” Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
Maybe we need to be better prisms of God’s love this Christmas. Instead of getting crushed by the rush, we can open the eyes of our hearts to see where we might share a little love and joy vs. trudging our way blindly through the frenetic sludge of holiday spirals.
Yesterday as I dashed to mail a package to a friend who will be alone on Christmas, I couldn’t get anywhere near the big Monticello post office. Cars blocked the entrance, there was no way in! Although crunched for time, I zoomed downtown and managed to find a parking place (no small miracle) before running in to join 25 others in line. Undeterred, I started humming a funky jazz rendition of Jingle Bells. Soon a bunch of us in line started chatting: one lady’s college-aged son will be alone on Christmas, the family of another can’t come and so on. Others started humming & we were wishing each other “Merry Christmas” as the line moved merrily along.
For at least five of us, we had all tried (& failed) to get into the other post office. But, 30 minutes later, I left with buoyant spirits, cheered by the shared joy of the rainbow nation in that line. (And, somehow was only 5 minutes late for appointment across town.)
“Where there is no love, put love, and you will draw love out.” St. John of the Cross
Last week as my mind (& heart) munched on this quote, I found a card my mother sent 11 years ago when I worked in Africa. In recent years as I took care of her before she died we had a nightly getting-ready-for-bed routine. After washing her @ the ‘beauty shop’ and getting her into her jammies, I tucked her into bed & said, “Mama, I love, love, love, love, love, love, LOVE YOU!” Then I kissed her on one cheek and my brother would come in to kiss her on the other cheek before we turned out the lights.
(We actually started the love, love, love business with my bed-fast quadriplegic Papa, who always said he loved us before we tucked him into his BiPap machine at night.)
But in this card from 11 years ago, my mother wrote, “know that I love you, love you, love you, love you, love you, love you, love you!”
So, it turns out my Mama started the love, love, love, love business which seems right since she poured buckets and buckets of love into us. But how cool is it that years later, she drew out the love, love, love, love we had for her.
I don’t know what you’re facing this Christmas, but try opening your heart wider to receive more of the healing love of Jesus, that you may put love where there is no love, planting seeds of mercy, peace, grace & joy. Maybe one day you may draw love out.
Like the love, love, love, love, love of Jesus my Mama shared with us – and we were able to share with her.
grace, peace & love, love, love, love
Virginia : )
p.s. Check out this Christmas medley from fav Jon Batiste & his band, Stay Human
“…And every year I think to myself, who I am and who can I help… And every year I think to myself, what really matters is what you do for someone else…”
Wow, after rocking out to that rendition of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, methinks this new holiday compilation will be a joyful addition to our celebration!! (hint, hint, Santa’s elf disguised as my brother.) 🙂