December 18, 2016 – A View from the Rectory Window

 

Next Sunday is Christmas.  Are you hopeful or alarmed?  Are you already looking forward to December 26th?   If so, I offer a thought.

I remember as a child my family would set up the nativity leaving the manger empty for baby Jesus’ arrival.    Perhaps we might do something similar in our lives this week?  Perhaps we could set ‘space’ apart in the busyness of our lives to encounter the Prince of Peace?

If we are anxious about the commercialism of Christmas, yet fall into it ourselves, if at best Christmas is a holiday but not a holy day, if December 26th seems to bring a mixture of disappointment and relief—this might be because we haven’t taken the time to observe Advent first.  In order for Christmas to be meaningful, we need the preparation, the silence, and the mystery.

We usually spend this season with lots of noise and haste and excess.  And yet, we need time, time in prayer and preparation, and the cleaning out of our hearts as humble but welcoming mangers for the birth of God.

I have found that it’s not hard to rise before dawn and to look at the deep color of the sky.  At this time it is easier to be ‘in tune’ with the feeling of anticipation, of things beginning, things changing, the feeling of getting ready for things to happen.  Sunset is another occasion to listen to your hopes and longings of the day.  I encourage you to find opportunities to embrace silence this week; do not attempt to fill it.  Angels’ voices are alarmingly soft. Embrace your emptiness.  Do not attempt to fill it.  Leave room in the manger for Jesus.

It is still Advent—the darkness and silence and emptiness can be hopeful and not alarming, because we are  welcoming God’s love.

Fr. Pete