Breath that smokes with each word. Realities that want to take us away to dark places. People who couldn’t care less that a youth was shot 16 times in Chicago, or that weather causes accidents and schedules that are unkeepable. Or that Climate Change is nothing more than a fanciful notion.
Then what I consider curious questions…whether an official church Advent color these days should be purple or blue. Thought it might be combining to have stoll stripes with both colors. Or whether or not a Christmas gift fully measures the value of love in the relationship. [It never does…remember once when friends cared for friends with dinner…and the next day the receiving couple purchased tangible gifts that equaled the price of the dinner check. Oh my, oh my.]
Into all this…on a fairly clear day but not without the stress of life…I clicked on to this link…and found myself humming, then singing. Found myself in at least 11 sanctuaries—with candles and wreaths celebrating Christmas. Found myself serving home communions…in Chicago and Eugene and Lakewood and Colorado Springs and Hudson and Elmhurst and Mercer Island and in many corners of Texas [read that San Marcos and Roundrock and Friona] and Louisiana [read that Little Farms and St. Matthew]…the memories valued not because of the bread and wine…but because of the quietness and by God’s presence and grace, holiness, of sharing in Holy Communion… When solitude and not loneliness, when relationship and not isolation were manifest.
And it didn’t matter…from the luxurious retirement homes to the dregs of the most bedraggled nursing homes [where urine and Clorox battled for prevalence] to the soup kitchen worship in North Chicago when Joe and Sam helped serve the holy elements [they loved being “deacon designates”] before they returned to their cardboard alley home.
The memories are not ended…hopefully more will be created…with visits…with surprises…with family gathered and hope not vanquished or silenced.
I’m saving this link…personally, perhaps the most meaningful Christmas song…nothing about red-noses and chimneys and rooftops. No, not now. But everything with the affirmation of angels…on high…and hopefully within. Because there are people who have graced my life, who have tolerated my thoughts, who have mused over some quirkiness, who put up with my fishing stories [but never complained about the smoked/canned salmon!]…and there they are…the angels impersonating human beings in my life. People of grace and love and affirmation and understanding. Thank you…and know the song is not academic…it’s filled with value…for today…and for the dawning tomorrows. It’s more than a good song. It’s a spiritual verity.