This season of celebration holds the potential for great enjoyment. I delight in the small things, learning slowly how to quiet my grown up heart and tune into the wonder of a child. Hot chocolate on a cold night, Christmas movies and sugar cookies, twinkling lights draping houses, the full moon hovering low on the horizon, the scent of fir trees on a farm, ceramic cottages displaying a Christmas village, pictures taken with Frosty and Rudolph, oversized teddy bears and dancing penguins, fake snow falling in downtown Bellevue, the excitement of giving a gift from the heart, a tree lighting ceremony amidst thousands in Leavenworth's town square, fresh wreaths selling at Pike Market, Christmas carols and the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. I love it all.
And in my grown up heart that seeks rediscovery of the childlike joy, I find a different kind of joy in moments of remembrance. For I can so easily forget what is most important. During worship at church this past Sunday, when we came to our knees for confession as we do each week, my heart filled with sober quiet:
"Arise, shine: for your light has come.
O God, we live as if the light had never defeated the darkness in the world or in us.
We confess that we ignore the Christ you sent to be among us, to be in us.
We've kept the birth of your Son confined to the Christmas season
And do not yearn for his birth each moment in our waiting hearts.
Lord, you came to us in the fullness of time.
Forgive us for not opening our eyes to your coming.
It's time that we prepare for your coming.
Let the earth ring with song. Let the light break forth.
Let us all rejoice in the miracle of love.
Let Christ come into the fullness of our time - Amen. "
I speak these words on my knees and my thoughts slow and my heart knows. I have forgotten. I have not yearned for his birth each moment in my waiting heart. And my heart also knows, in the place beyond the mind, he is the most wondrous gift. Waiting to be unwrapped every day, thousands of times over - and shared - in an overflow of love. There is much love to give away each day, and I tense up and hold it in and run right over or around or straight past the ones who most need a whiff of this love.
I read this poem today, words from Teresa of Avila, a mystic who knew this love so well:
Just these two words He spoke
changed my life,
What a burden I thought I was to carry -
a crucifix, as did He.
Love once said to me, "I know a song,
would you like to hear it?"
And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore
in the sky,
After a night of prayer, He
changed my life when
Whether enjoyments abound or seem scarce, whether gratitude pours forth easily or I fight the grumbling, the invitation to an enjoyment that never fades or ceases, beckons to me. Not as burden, but as joyful freedom. The full life.