Friday, December 24, 2010
Hold On to Jesus: Advent 2010
Gratitude swelled in my soul, even on the way to church, as we trudged through the cold, trying to walk, carefully, on the icy sidewalks. At one point I raised my arms to the night sky. "O come let us adore Him!" Just like the Magi, and like Joseph and Jesus' mom, Mary, and so like the ragamuffin shepherds who were fortunate to witness with the angels, the miracle of God with us.
When we arrived there were no more seats, but I was as happy in the church basement watching the Mass on a big screen television than I would have been on the front row in the sanctuary. Nothing could diminish my excitement. During his homily, Fr. Norman asked us to hold the Baby--to literally open our arms and embrace him.
I could tell some of the few of us gathered in the basement felt a little silly holding what seemed to be nothing, but not me, who sang too loud, and stood during the reciting of the creed, just as if I were upstairs in the thick of things. I held that baby with everything in me. I held him because he wanted my love. A baby Jesus is delicate. A baby Jesus, like your fragile soul, needs to be guarded in your arms. Hold him tight! Don't let him go, friends. Protect the precious gift God was good enough to give you.
We walked home through a blizzard that we saw no sign of on the way in. It was a remarkable reminder that life can suddenly become very slippery. Conditions can grow cold and harsh so quickly, and completely unexpectantly. But all the way home I held that baby. I held him as I slipped and slid on fresh snow covered ice. I held him through the storm. I was tenacious and firm in my grip, but even if I stumbled, I think I'd have recovered, and kept on walking. I was holding on to Jesus, lovies. He is important--he is life to me.
When I came home I let the kids tear into the presents, while I lit the Advent wreath. Faith, hope, love, joy, and Christ in the center of it all. Somehow, winter storms and all, I have the strongest feeling that everything is going to be all right. My life may not look like it used to, but there is goodness and mercy dogging my heels. They will follow me all the days of my life. God help me to dwell in your house forever.
Merry Christmas, my dear friends. Christ has come. Hold him in your arms. Love him, and by all means, keep him safe, nestled within you. Be the mansion he will grow up in.