Human beings tell stories to make the meaning that we need to discover in order to live well. The narratives of scripture, like that of the birth of Jesus, give greater returns each time we recall them, so freshly intertwined are they with the stories of our own lives. Our deepening spiritual experience, the raising and clarifying of consciousness that is the result of our meditation, is fed by the Word that is alive and active. It also leads us back to scripture with a new hunger and capacity for insight.
Christmas is a feast of meaning. Much of it is reflected in our cultural forms of celebrating at this time of year. [ . . . .] But all these forms depend on the personal experience of what Christmas is most essentially about – the radical poverty and simplicity, the intoxicating proximity to God that our total dependence reveals.
Let us hold each other in our hearts in this joyful season. May we be restored to the love of the earth needed if we are to repair the damage we have inflicted on it. May our life as community increase the energy of peace that our divided world is striving for as well as the justice on which peace depends – the very wisdom that the newborn Jesus embodies.
After meditation: “The Same and the Other” by Gina Franco, published in Poem-a-Day by the Academy of American Poets, December 3, 2019 at poets.org/poem-a-day.
The Same and the Other
in each hand a disparate dream: in all dreams
too quiet: delirium
of the mask and God
behind it: paradise
had no winter like
is the one where the infant sleeps in
of a dreamless mind so far from home
longer resembles anyone:
his mother, thrown
down, hunted, sick
with fear, sleeps next to him among the filth of
animals: his father
watches (the imperative
demands), for there is no room
sleeper: the desert will keep
the child will walk in his shimmering
the wilderness, if you just get across:
the light rise and rest:
sole face left (remember you are dust)
of our first lost image