If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life. (Anonymous, but quoted by Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance)
“What does it feel like to be loved?”
The question is asked of my daughter who lives with her husband and three small children in a N African Islamic country. The lady who poses the question is heavy with her third child. Last December I joined my daughter to invite neighbours to attend a Ladies event to experience the flavour of a Canadian Christmas. In this country they do not celebrate December 25th, they do not get caught up in ribbons and bows, in getting the right turkey, the right gifts … they do that for other cultural events. As we spread the word about the party, one of the ladies said “everyone wants to be at her house.” It is a house of welcome, of light and love. This year, I could not be there and encouraged my daughter in whatever way I could, mainly prayer from wintery Canada. She is eight hours ahead, it was early Friday afternoon that the first details came through: “a house full of women, rich conversation, laughter, fun, food.” Via WhatsApp she said “And one pregnant woman who did not have the two dinars (about a dollar) for a taxi ride, walked seven kilometres to come.” I was moved to tears to read that. That woman walked seven kms because she felt loved and accepted by my daughter. My daughter does not preach, she invests herself into their lives … she cares, she also gives this woman a ride home.
What does it feel like to be loved? Three weeks ago, I heard a fable by Max Lucado. This is now my retelling of his telling … As the prince rode throughout the land, he took note of a peasant woman, he fell in love with her … he proposed marriage. She wanted to refuse … how could he love her, he lived in a castle, she was just a common woman. He insisted that He loved her for who she was, and he wanted to marry her. She still responded in doubt, but as he seemed quite persistant, she said, she could cook and clean for him, and bear his children … He said, “I do not want you because you can cook and clean, and bear children. I want you to be my wife because I love you” …. They married; she cooked and cleaned and bore his children, but somehow she never trusted his love. In the end she left him, and said to one of her friends, “I never really felt that he loved me.”
Something stirred my heart at this story as I have often wondered IF God, who says He is love, could love me? What does it feel like to be loved by the creator of the universe? I have learned that grief does not feel like love …. but the question hangs in the air. Do actions speak louder than words? I do believe that Christmas is Love in Action.
How will I spend the final advent hours? May I take time to feel the desert wind, to gaze at a star and to ponder the birth of new understanding. The final word is Immanuel, God with us, through each season of life, through the longing and the filling, in the journey through the desert.
Why settle for tinsel, when we are offered the kingdom?
Jocelyn is the Author of Who is Talking out of My Head-Grief as an Out of Body Experience