Dear Loved Ones,
Alexander Smith the Scottish poet (31 December 1830- 5 January 1867) said:
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.”
That is a thought to hold, particularly as each individual celebration of Christmas arrives at a moment when everything seems to be falling apart. Amazing and harrowing consistency there.
We humans find ways in every new year to oppose one another, to grouse, to forget the past, to fight again and again, and to learn (if at all) only ever so slowly. So this Christmas we find ourselves within days of the ‘end’ of the longest war in the history of the USA (and that is saying something), and already the nation born out of that conflict in its present form, Iraq, is racing to fall apart politically and in terms of renewed and horrendous violence.
Yet we will continue to believe, many of us, that there is reason for war, and that the reason this happens now is because the war was not long enough. Might it not be instead, as the tiny Infant whose birth we recall this coming Sunday might remind us, that the peace is not long enough, and never has been?
How does Christmas Day hold all time together? That day opens up into an eternal Day without end; a day filled with the light of the Christmas star, with the light and the wisdom of the Child who grew up to be teacher and healer and self-giving-to-death Savior. That eternal Day is always this day. It is always directly before us. It is always right here. The only thing we need do to recognize that dawn is to accept it. But instead, if you’re like me, you probably think that today, just for one more day, I may have a better idea of how things should be. A better idea than the One who sent the Son to be born of woman in Bethlehem.
I pray that, despite our commercial and corporate lunacy, that this past has been a good year for you and your loved ones. I pray that at least some of these past months of days have opened to a glimpse of the Day that will last forever. And I pray the same may be true of even more of the days to come. Many of you I see only infrequently since my move to New York. That doesn’t mean that you are not on my mind and in my heart day to Day. You are. You are precious to me. You have helped to form my life thus far, and in doing so, know it or not, you have been tender and effective tools in the hand of God.
I pray for you tonight, that this Christmas – in the midst of the turning world – may be for you the day that holds all time together, and the opening to a new and beautiful Day.
10 thoughts on “Christmas Thoughts”
Thanks for this, John. On Christmas morning I will be thinking of you there at Grace Church from my unlikely place at S. Stephen’s on George Street in Providence. I hope that you share my own renewed hope for the near-term future. You seem to have the long-term beautifully under control!
John, thank you for your words. War has never solved anything. Only created new problems. Let us pray this year that the Peace of Christ will live in the hearts of all in the world as He meant it to be. God Bless and have a wonderful Christmas Season
May your days be filled with joy to bring happiness to those in need. May you see the good in all living things to bring light to those in despair. May you heart be filled with compassion to bring comfort to those in pain. May you thoughts be filled with peace so that you can hear the whisper of that which we call The Word. May you be surrounded by Love each and every day! Thank you for those inspiring and thoughtful reflections. Merry Christmas! Bebe
A very merry Christmas to you John. Hope it’s the best and you travel safely
Thank you so much John, that was so well said. If we don’t have compassion and understanding in our lives, then we haven’t embraced our God.
Joy and good health to you always,
Merry Christmas, “Gint” (as you are affectionately known in our house)
We love that your new home is “Grace” Church as our home is filled with a little “Grace” as well.
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words for reflection.
We too think of you often, and wish you a year filled with peace and joy.
Love, Paul, Julianne and Grace
My dear friend John,
You have made so many of my Christmas celebrations come to life, you introduced me the real meaning of Christmas, you proved to me that going to mass doesn’t have to be a painful experience (homily wise) and you instilled hope in my heart, by making Jesus real and important in my life. Plus, you had the insight and the intellegence to follow your own heart and move away from your previous church affiliation. For this I applaud you and truly hope that this years brings joy to to all the people that you meet, people that hear your new homilies, people that read your blogs, facebook and strangers in the street, know the love and humor that you express to (or I should say live each day) not only to me but my family. I could never repay your kindness and you always remain in my prayers and in my friendship. Enjoy this Christmas season and live in awe as the new year unfolds.
That’s beautiful, as always. I wish I could be hearing your homilies at St Eulalia’s but electronic communication is a welcome substitute.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and prayers with us. Though our politics, economics and wars may often divide us as a nation, most still worship and hope for peace. May the spirit of Christmas remain throughout the year.
Your words are so hope-filled and beautiful and I’m so grateful for your friendship. Thank you John, for sharing in this way, and in a format I can return and read again and hear your wisdom and be inspired this New Year.