Category Archives: Advent

Come Christmas!

Ready or not, here comes Christmas!  The poem, below, reminds us that whether or not we are ready, God is coming. God’s love for us does not depend on our perfection, but rather seeks a connection…with us.
Take a moment today and remember that Christmas is about God.  This most needed of seasons is all about God.

“Come Christmas!” by M. Maureen Killoran

No one is ever really ready for Christmas.
If we were really all prepared:
If every gift we had contemplated had been obtained;
If every present was beautifully beribboned;
If all the goodies our friends deserve were baked and cooled, and stored just so;
If each and every person we love was gathered for our celebration;
If we never snapped at someone we care about, nor stopped short of being all that we could be;
If our minds were 100 per cent loving and our hearts were 100 per cent generous;
They truly would be ready
—and truly we would not need Christmas quite so much.
So come, Christmas, most needed of seasons.
Come with the reminder that love does not depend on
Perfection but on willingness to risk connection.
Come into the unready manger of our hearts
That we may feel the warmth of new life
And give flesh to the promise of hope
That cries to bring healing into our world.
Come Christmas!
Come, Love,
Come, Hope.
Be born in our unready hearts
On this silent and holy night.

-Ann Palmerton

How Is Your Heart?

Recently, one of you sent me an article written by Omid Safi, the Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center.  In it Safi bemoaned the current state of affairs in which so many of us are so busy.   He asks:

How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?  Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?

He then offered a resource in addressing what he calls this disease of being “busy.”

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?  What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.   I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.  Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.

How is the state of your heart today?  What a wonderful, life-giving question.   This Advent season – when the culture asks that we fill our time with so many tasks and activities – may we have the courage to ask such a rich question.  And then may we take the time to listen fully and deeply to the answer.

Grace and Peace,
Amy Miracle