Sunday, December 21, 2008


Christmas is coming like a steam locomotive. Or better yet – Christmas is like an overstuffed suitcase being sat upon in a desperate attempt to keep shut until the right time but already the case is groaning, bursting at the seams, pieces of Christmas already flying out through the cracks. So even a rigorist like myself decides to relax a little bit and let it happen. And instead of seeming like a shock it is a more like a nice, relaxing, hot shower.

Well, somewhat. It is still as busy as all get out. I worry about being able to greet the holy day completely – or at least satisfactorily - prepared. So the past few days I set a firm rule for myself: “Self! You have a lot to prepare and nobody is going to cut you slack because you were too busy. So – no more last minute appointments, no problem solving that does not involve Christmas directly, everything will just have to wait the next so many days. The world has turned without you thus far and it will continue to do so. Focus on your mission!”

And then God, who is the Father of irony, gets in the mix. A phone call comes in. A family needs a priest at a local hospital. They are stressed. The family is in from out of state and their Mother is unexpectedly and severely ill and not expected to make it through the holidays. Will you come? A well respected and beloved nurse is in hospice care, not expected to make it through the night. Will you come? A priest’s father has passed away. Can you help them out? A soldier is about to be shipped out and needs to talk to you before he leaves. Can you make the time?

Of course priests and lay people alike do these things. That is what allows us to wear the title Christian. And if privately we grumble beforehand we are exceedingly grateful for the opportunity and for having been able to reach out to others.

These blessings reminded me of the Chesterton quote: “"When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?" What blessings we have. That we can be stressed about the coming festivities of course means we have festivities to be stressed about. Let us be grateful for the “interruptions” which are not interruptions at all but part of the celebration. Let us be thankful that they allow us to exercise our charity in this season of charity and that they remind us to be thankful for our stockings full of legs that allow us to do them.

1 comment:

MJ said...

And Thank You for saying yes and for all you do!!