Thursday, December 24, 2009

Blessed Christmas Eve

A Christmas Carol
G.K. Chesterton

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

I love this poem for many reasons.  This year, it captures beautifully the reality of my Advent and Christmas season.  I love this poem because of the dichotomy within it.  There is the dichotomy between the infant babe and the Almighty Savior; the weary world and cunning kings and the truth and beauty of Christ.

Dichotomy suits me well this year.  I can live with it.  Well, let's say I have no choice but to live with it.  My Christmas celebration is dichotomous:  on the one hand, I am joyful to celebrate Advent, to prepare my heart and spirit for the coming of Christ, and to participate in the traditions of the season.  

On the other hand, we have our first Christmas without the entire family. Furball just returned from taking gifts and dinner to JSB.  He wasn't received well, but was greeted with rage.  Mental illness has its grip and we have learned to mitigate its impact on us all.  So, we try to remain patient with this harsh reality, and continue to pray for his deliverance.

Pony Girl probably won't be with us tonight either.  She is 18-years-old and not so sure about this Jesus thing.   I told her I would love her to come to church with us tonight, but don't want her to if it's because she thinks I want her to be there.  I mean it, too.  It sucks the joy right out of you to watch someone in church who is there because you made them come.  I also think it "bruises the fruit" in an evangelical sense of the word. I've learned not to provide fodder for rebellion when it's not necessary to do so.

The "Scary Midwestern Lutheran Sect" bruised this fruit when I was her age.  The fundamental, closed-minded, right-wing synod sent me into the desert for a very long time.  I see she is on a similar path.  She is dear, but she is highly doubtful.  God was patient with me and I have learned from my own experience to be patient with the spiritual journey of another.   I believe that doubt - and even denial - is a sound response to faith.  Read the Bible and you'll find it there in abundance.  Christ knows how to respond to doubt and denial in more powerful ways than I.  So, I will be patient with her.

So much in my world is weary today.  There is cunning and sternness all around me.  So much is harsh.  But, a long time ago, a woman in my prayer group told me during the roughest times to "Keep looking for Christ in the midst of it all."  I didn't realize it at the time, but it was one of the most helpful exhortations I have received.

So, I am watching for Christ:  A few moments ago, I received a phone call from Sweet Miss P, a dear friend with a 60-year-old son with schizophrenia.  She called to check on us all, sympathized with the situation with JSB, and agreed with me that it "is what it is."  We wished each other a Merry Christmas and expressed love for each other.

I am going to fix Furball and myself a lovely supper of bouillabaisse this evening and celebrate the coming of Christ.  I am going to light all of the candles in my Advent wreath, listen to my favorite sacred music, and worship the savior.  And as we walk home from church on this beautiful December night, I will imagine the Infant Christ on his sweet mother's lap and think of Chesterton's beautiful words: all the flowers looked up at him, and all the stars looked down.


 Merry Christmas everyone.  Remember to look for Christ in the midst of it all...


  1. Blessings, dear one. God is with you and it is clear the Holy Spirit is blessing you with the wisdom to make good choices re JSB and Pony Girl. May this season warm you in the deepest corners of your being, and give you the strength to continue on this blessed and difficult path.

  2. Thanks, Mary, you are a wonderful spiritual rock to me:) I covet your prayers and friendship. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.


Site Meter