All tagged christmas

Epiphany: Offering your Gifts

Some women point out rightly that if it had been three wise women, they would have brought different gifts to the holy child, perhaps a blanket and some food, and they might have watched the baby so Mary could sleep.  These would have been wise gifts for a cold infant in winter and an exhausted mother.  But when we translate the story into our own inward journey, bringing our most precious gifts might not be so inappropriate, after all.

The Eleventh Day of Christmas. Following the Star

Yesterday we practiced looking at the Divine birth through the eyes of a child. Today I would like to offer some guidance about the story of wise men from the medieval Abbess and spiritual guide Hildegard of Bingen. In her Christmas homilies, she invites us to translate the Christmas story into the heart's journey.  But what does Epiphany, the feast of the three kings, have to do with our heart's journey?

The Tenth Day of Christmas. Through the Eyes of a Child

Or CAN'T YOU SEE, THE JESUS BABY IS FREEZING! What if we could see Christmas through the eyes of a child again?  What if we were able to put our adult perspective away for a while and just listen in child-like innocence to the unfolding of this story?
Have you driven by all the outside nativity scenes in front of houses or churches? Well, that might be cosy in warmer climates, but what about little Jesus freezing outside at 20 below? Wouldn't a child cry out: "Look, little Jesus is freezing!" How have we gotten used to the Christmas story as mere decoration item? Who had the idea to put nativity scenes outside in the snow anyway?

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Towards the Threshold

We have been doing some difficult work on this journey, with what seems like nigh-impossible goals: to cultivate a virgin heart, to sit in perfect silence, to reach that inner room where God meets us.  Even under the best of conditions, it would be easy to lose heart.  Even in a quiet room, with a candle for focus, and time for concentration, the thoughts keep intruding, insistent: undone tasks, unchecked lists, repressed sorrows, old embarrassments, new fears.  We are imperfect pilgrims.

On the fourth Day of Christmas snow drifted ever so quietly down to earth, tenderly covering the landscape  with a  white veil. Every year I am afraid of winter. Every year I am, again, taken by surprise to watch the beauty of the first snow falling, to listen to my silent steps in the thin blanket of snow. The whole world is washed clean and hushed into a peaceful rest.

It is often just so in the spiritual world. We get afraid when, in our lives, the last colors of Fall vanish and our life is put on hold under an icy layer of cold. Yet still, we know, somewhere below those cold layers there is life waiting to burst into bloom again in spring.

The 12 Days of Christmas

Have you ever wondered what to do about the 12 days of Christmas? We have.
An unexpected sick time of quiet and reflection reminded us of the many who arrive at Christmas with a deep longing for wholeness and healing and hope. To those who share this longing we want to invite you to a quiet, new venture:  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.