Chapter Talk – Christmas Eve – December 24, 2021
On this Christmas eve morning I offer several texts that create a collage where the writers depict the mystery of the Christmas event, of God’s incarnate gift in Christ. Along with Scripture, there is so much amazing art depicting the event for us, and then writers who have experienced and from their faith share through poetry and prose their experience of the Divine birth of God. I begin with these words of Sr. Maria Boulding: “Faith means life in the presence of God who is coming. Joyful already, it is a prelude to joy” (The Coming of God, p.171). Is our faith right now elusive or is it alive in anticipation of the ‘One who is to come’. Here we are on the cusp of something ‘new’, the new of God, which longs to break into our lives…Advent has been preparing us, helping us to lean into the Christmas event which is given ‘for us and to us’. It means change…but the change comes with grace…it comes with a new sense of Christ in our lives.
The writer Enuma Okoro reflects on a piece of art of Mary’s annunciation. She writes: “A viewer has to wonder, are there signs and symbols of the holy scattered about the seemingly unimpressionable landscapes of our own lives? Are there early mornings or middle of nights where proclamations are waiting for just a slip of space, for a sliver of room to flicker like a flame into our hearts. Wake up, wake up. There are little fires everywhere” (New York Times, December 19, 2020). Indeed, there are signs and symbols everywhere where God is appearing at the door of our lives, inwardly and outwardly. A living faith keeps us awake and sensitive to these new revelations of Divine life, it keeps us open, free, and alert, ready to receive.
Fr. Dennis said this morning at Mass that “we do not grow without letting go of something”. Indeed, we will not receive the new of God unless we let go of something. No wonder then that Christine Rogers’ Christmas poem is titled “Pondering Kenosis This Christmas”. Here is her poem:
Surely this is
stepping out of
as the Son of God
into his vulnerable
humanity – the son
of Joseph and Mary.
What might we
step out of
and away from
What idols and
filled us so full
there is no room
for Jesus to be born.
What great gift
awaits us – if
we agree to
So dear sisters: ‘What might we step out of and away from this Christmas’ to create room and space for the new manifestation of God’s love? Faith creates space, it gives the impetus, the courage to surrender, to let go, in order to receive the Divine gift of God’s life …We each need this gift…our community needs it…our Church and world needs it.
Now it is left to us to enter this Divine Mystery fully, with a heart wide open ready to let go, ready to receive in the stable of a humble heart the One who is coming.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess
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