The Benedictine Sisters want to wish all our family, friends, benefactors, and Oblates a blessed and joyous Christmas and a happy and hopeful New Year.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, we find ourselves in a very different space. 2020 has been a hard year for most of us. Many hearts are not feeling the spirit of joy as Christmas approaches. Many of us have lost loved ones this year. Sadness, grief, frustration, are but a few of the emotions that weigh us down.
This year God invites us to remember that we are all brothers and sisters who inhabit this earth. God invites us to reach out beyond ourselves and make choices that will be for the good of all. God asks us to turn from selfishness to compassion and reach out with an abundant love and care for all God’s creation. This year we need to decide whether we will see our family or stay home for the greater good of our brothers and sisters throughout our world. Some of us might consider gathering in small groups. Some of us will celebrate alone. Some of us might not celebrate at all because of the death of a loved one or because we are a front-line worker or because we have COVID-19. We might not gather to celebrate because we have lost our job.
Although we enter this holiday with a mix of emotions, we must not forget the enormity of this feast. God breaking into our world; the Incarnation. The power of love wrapped in swaddling clothes! God with us! God becomes fully immersed with us and with our messiness. Hope and love are birthed!
Although our journey toward Christmas has been difficult, hope and love have carried us to this moment. God has walked every step of 2020 with us. We have experienced the darkness, but are we also aware of the light. There here have been many blessings in 2020 – God’s hope on display. God with us. Think of the number of people who have gone out of their way to help those in most need during this pandemic especially, but not limited to our front-line workers. Think of the creative energy that has been on display with artists, young people, old people, all people finding ways to connect.
Think of the many virtual platforms created to lift spirits. Think of the millions of dollars raised to help feed our brothers and sisters. Although, the food lines have been imaginable, so have the number of volunteers helping to feed the hungry! We rejoice these days and we are so grateful for the creative and professional minds that came together throughout our world, worked with enormous energy and purpose to deliver vaccines that will inoculate millions. Our “best selves” showed up in 2020, and radiated God’s love to those that suffer. We have brought hope where none was before. God with us every step of the way. We have been the bearers of glad tidings for others. “We are God’s companions in healing the world, one act at a time.”(Bruce Epperly) May we bring the healing touch of God to those that hurt and may we help to transform the woundedness of 2020 into windows of grace for 2021.
Our prayer for you is that as you light candles during this season and illumine your home with Christmas lights you may remember the light of Christ is always with us. May you feel the spark of divinity that shines brightly and resides within you.
We light the candle of joy.
A candle to celebrate light in darkness,
Love that overcomes fear,
Joy that heals sorrow,
Faith that outlasts the machinations of
Power brokers and despots,
Hope that awakens us to new possibilities.
We light a candle of joy
For this present moment
When God is with us
And we share the light of God’s love
Here and everywhere.
We light it with Mary and Elizabeth,
And Joseph, Jesus, and John the Baptist,
And light-bearers in all times and places,
As we open to God’s love being born in us.