Entering the Christmas Season

Friends and fellow travelers,

A blessed Advent to each of you! 

In this time of expectant waiting, whether your heart is burdened or joyful or some of both, we hope that  Christmas soon will find you where you are.    

Advent is a pregnant time, a time of expectant waiting.  This Advent has been transformed for us because we are indeed pregnant and awaiting the birth of our first child.  Our child will be arriving in the end of March, 2019, and so we are full (very full) of expectation this Advent.  To walk through Advent carrying a child, awaiting the great change which will come, has transformed the meaning of Advent for us.  

We began 2018 with our first 12 days of Christmas retreat bringing some of our favorite authors and images to bear on the mystery of Christmas. We also offered a Lenten retreat based in a psychological reading of the desert fathers and mothers. In the long ordinary time, we hosted an extended visit from our German family, and Almut began classes in Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Care at St. John's University Seminary, the internationally known school associated with St. John's Abby. 

In late Spring of the coming year, we plan to host two weekend retreats: one on Hildegard of Bingen and the greening of the soul (which has become a regular spring retreat) and another on St. Benedict & Rumi and the idea of the true self.  And to close this year and to begin the new year of 2019, we will again offer a series of reflections on the

12 Days of Christmas

To those who share this longing for quiet reflection in the busy Christmas season, we want to invite you to another  12 Days of Christmas We will walk from Christmas Day, towards the threshold when the old year fades and the new begins, and on to the dawning light of Epiphany.  If you long for some quiet, we invite you to be part of this journey.  This time we will be bringing Christmas into our homes with a series of reflections on the rooms in our houses.  We will think about each of the many possible rooms and functions of a house and meditate on how that room provides a space for God to be present in our lives and in the lives of those who visit us.  

We will be guided by the published reflections of Johannes Eckert, Abbot of St. Boniface and Andechs Abbeys in Munich.   In a recently published book Abbot Johannes leads us to "build a cloister in our hearts" and uses an ancient plan of the Monastery of St. Gallen as his model.  We will follow some of Abbot Johannes's  reflections on the rooms in the monastery as we think about our own houses and about how we might welcome the Christ child into our homes.  

You will also, without doubt, run into more of our favorite characters for Christmas reflection including Mary, Joseph, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard, Wenceslaus, Rumi, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, Jung, Edith Stein and other wise women and men.

How to join in this reflection?You can find our daily reflections online. Our Christmas door opens on Christmas eve. For your convenience you can also subscribe to the 12 Days of Christmas retreat by entering the image above or below and leaving your email by the door. We will  deliver each day's reflection every morning to your inbox. Then you only need to find those precious 15 minutes of your day to be alone, in the chamber of your heart, where we are each alone with God.

Surely it does not matter if you miss a day or two. Come back to it whenever you can. Or turn the 12 days into 24 days or 12 weeks or what ever time schedule works for you.  Feel free to forward the readings and to comment on them or to send us email.We always love to hear from you, and are looking forward to journey with you this season into a New Year.

Peace to you in this precious time,  Chuck and Almut


The First Day of Christmas: Opening the Gate

The Heart of the Desert and the Threshold of Easter