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Darkness came in relative silence
to a cold, gray sky.  Beneath it,
a man, tired from too many miles
of travel, walked a dusty road.

His wife straddled a donkey.
She was uncomfortable,
about to give birth. The couple
stopped as soon as they could.

Having been ordered by the king
to report to their ancestors’ homes
to pay taxes, they traveled miles
and miles to the appointed spot.

Other travelers—hungry and thirsty, too—
stopped where the couple did,
huddling in an animal shed,
the best places to sleep already gone

to those who arrived earlier.
Curious eyes of many strangers
watched that woman in her labor.
About midnight, the teen-age mother

gave birth to a boy, wrapped him in rags,
nursed him, hummed softly.
Drought-weary shepherds herded sheep
in nearby fields of sand,

were discouraged at yet another night
with no trickle of rain.
So imagine their surprise
as the sky revealed an awesome star.

from Facing a Lonely West (Main Street Rag)

Are You Ready For the Incarnation?


As the midnight hour approaches and we greet Christmas day, let us be committed to create new memories that we keep and cherish and bless the Lord for. Our memories take us into a future where we will be gathered around an eternal banquet table and celebrate there forever the visitation of God, Emmanuel, the God who calls us into the holiness and the fullness of life.

from Let Us Adore Him: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas by Richard Fragomeni


Silence and Grace by Richard Rohr

…All grace comes precisely from nowhere—from silence and emptiness, if you prefer—which is what makes it grace. It is both you and yet so much greater than you at the same time, which is probably why believers chose both uprushing fountains (John 7:38) and downrushing doves (Matthew 3:16) as metaphors for this universal and grounding experience of spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is an uprush and sometimes it is a downrush, but it is always from a silence that is larger than you, surrounds you, and finally names the deeper truth of the full moment that is you. I call such a way of knowing the contemplative way of knowing, as did much of the older tradition. (The word “prayer” has been so consistently trivialized to refer to something you do, instead of something that is done to you, with you, in you, and as you.) Then, like Mary, you are ready to give birth. You are ready for Christmas.

from “Finding God in the Depths of Silence,”” Sojourners, March 2013.



Midnight is coming. Are you ready?

December 2014