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The Holy Family at the Nativity ©Laura James 2008. Used with permission. laurajamesart.com

It is not over

It is not over,
this birthing.

There are always newer skies
into which
God can throw stars.

When we begin to think
that we can predict the Advent of God
that we can box the Christ
in a stable in Bethlehem,
that’s just the time
that God will be born
in a place we cannot imagine and won’t believe.

Those who wait for God
watch with their hearts and not their eyes,
listening
always listening
for angel voices …

“Do not be afraid;
I bring you good news of great joy for all the people!”

—From Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem (Westminster/John Knox, 1993)

In their end-of-year newsletters, numerous Maryknoll lay missioners tell the stories of women and men, girls and boys who give birth to God’s light and love each day in their corners of the world. The individuals and communities who receive our lay missioners are also sent by God to be reflections of God’s light, to be witnesses to God’s promise of hope and peace.

They are ordinary people like you or like me. They bring hope to places of despair, companionship to the lonely, truth to those in power. They birth God’s love into this hurting world through words, touches, and simple acts of kindness. They are not famous, nor are they modern saints. We simply experience God’s presence through them.

As we celebrate the season of Jesus’ birth, let us draw near to the Light of the One born of love and for love. We hunger for this Light in the midst of the darkness of our world. May we hasten to Bethlehem to be reminded of the good news. May we remember that, like Mary, God sends us to birth this same love wherever we are, and to look for the many ways the people with whom we walk and live also birth God’s promise of hope and God’s passionate love.

In our recent Sending Ceremony, speaker Robert Ellsberg reminded us of the words of Madeleine Delbrel, a French Catholic in the 1930s: “Each tiny act is an extraordinary event, in which heaven is given to us, in which we are able to give heaven to others. It makes no difference what we do.”

Watch for the light. Listen for the angel voices. And let us trust in each tiny act to become the love that brings hope and peace to another person.

All of us at Maryknoll Lay Missioners wish each of you

a very blessed Christmas

and great hope and joy for this New Year!

 

Ted Miles Ted Miles
Ted Miles is the executive director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners.