Thursday, December 8, 2016

Left alone with all she needs...

"'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.' Then the angel departed from her."
Luke 1:38

It was in Fr. James Martin's book "Jesus: A Pilgrimage" that I first recognized the most amazing sentence of this chapter in Luke. "Then the angel departed from her." In that one sentence is the Christian journey of faith.  Mary hears from the angel that she has won favor with God and this amazing event will take place.  How exciting! How challenging and anxiety-producing! And then. Then the angel leaves her with her own faith to navigate it all.  When I was a little girl and my favorite movie was "The Wizard of Oz" (who am I kidding, it still is my favorite!) I was frustrated that the Good Witch, Glenda, kept coming and going while Dorothy was in Oz, but why didn't she stay with Dorothy and help her out the whole time? Similarly, I could wonder why the angel couldn't stay visible and present to Mary and help her through the coming ordeal? Mary was given all she needed to cope with it all from God, all through her life and very being.  God worked from the inside with Mary, giving her the strength and hope she needed, just as God works with us...from the inside. God gives us all we need so our faith can be manifested through all we do--on the outside.  Today, as we pray and ponder with young Mary, let's give our faith-filled "Yes!" to God too, in our own lives.  God will give us all we need to do anything...from the inside.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Time to rest!

"Jesus said to the crowds, 'Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

Rest? Seriously? This time of year?  Perhaps this is the exact time of year we need Jesus to talk about rest.  We get ourselves so spun out of control with the Christmas machine that rest seems impossible. When, actually, the earth itself is telling us to rest. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer. That spells R-E-S-T, to me.  Trees are resting, animals are hibernating, time for us to take it easy, too.  Since letting go of Facebook and a couple other time-consuming activities this Advent, I find myself getting to bed much earlier.  I have been able to spend time just sitting with the tree lights and a candle. This pondering kind of rest is rejuvenating and recharging.  Letting go of some of the seasonal "must-dos" has helped too. (People may be pleasantly surprised to get a Christmas card in February, right?) The only "must-do" on my schedule this Advent is to restfully sit with Jesus for a time each day.  Everything else can wait.  What about you? Can you take some time to rest? Love, heidi

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Comfort, give comfort...

"Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God..."
Isaiah 40:1

God bids Isaiah to comfort the people of Israel and let them know they will be OK. The readings of Isaiah are our Advent mainstays...we grew up with these beautiful readings promising the coming of the Kingdom of God.  So, why are we always so fearful? How could we fear a God who gives a messenger the image of a shepherd, gathering his sheep? (verse 11) Isaiah is urging the people to prepare for a gentle, loving God who shepherds them instead of punishing them.  Isaiah is laying the foundation for Jesus, the God of forgiveness, compassion, mercy, and inclusion.  The people were more used to a God requiring obedience to the rules. One wonders if these words to Isaiah can also urge us to comfort the people around us this day.  People are stressed out.  People are fearful and anxious. People need to hear words of comfort, just like the people of Israel...you will be OK. God loves us all.  Today, let's keep our eyes and ears open for someone, friend or stranger, who may need a few words of comfort. And let's give comfort to God's people.  Love, heidi

Monday, December 5, 2016

Advent waiting...and waiting

Deacon Wence shared a lovely story of waiting during his homily Saturday evening. When he was a little boy, he came home from school late in the afternoon. During the winter, it was already growing dark. Often his mother was visiting his grandmother and not home when he arrived, but he would sit on the front steps and wait for her.  He watched down the street for the headlights of her car.  He waited in hope for her coming...and she always came.  I remember, thirty years ago, waiting in hope for a baby boy, due the first week of December. The shortening winter days and long winter nights made me anxious and I was certainly uncomfortable. But I waited in hope. Since he was our second child, I knew that he would come, eventually! Waiting in hope.  Waiting, knowing full well that the wait would be so worth it and so rewarded with the Coming.  Finally, our son arrived on December 9, a wonderful wee lad, our Blaine.  For Deacon Wence, one set of headlights would pull into the driveway, his wait thus rewarded.  Our Savior will always, always come to us. And the Coming will be so worth the wait.  Advent waiting...how is it going?  Love, heidi

Thursday, December 1, 2016

We wait for you...with you

"The kingdom (of God) is always here and not here. It is always now and not yet."
"Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr"

I'm convinced we see glimpses of the kingdom of God, showing us that it is happening right now. We wait for Jesus during Advent, certainly, but the fabulous part is that Jesus waits with us.  That is one of those puzzling truths, like the kingdom is always here and not here.  Jesus waits with us and yet, Jesus is who we are waiting for.  Advent quiet gives us the time to ponder these truths, but it is all too easy to miss them in the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations.  Let's try not to miss it this year! Let's carve out some time to sit in the quiet, light a candle, hum a hymn, and just sit and wait with Jesus, for Jesus.  Love, heidi