Archive for December 25th, 2020

A Humble Christmas 2020

“ Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, fa la la la la, la la la la,‘tis the Season to be jolly …”

This oft played classic Christmas carol captures the secular tradition of decorating our homes, businesses and main streets with brilliantly colored lights and ornaments. In almost every town, there are those that go “ Baroque” with as many sometimes award winning displays of lights, inflatables and even animatronics designed to awe passersby. It is an annual expression of the American appetite for competitive flamboyance.

I am always struck by the juxtaposition of the luminous eye candy against the humble beginnings of the “ Prince of Peace” in a cave. St Francis of Assisi embraced Lady Poverty and celebrated simple joy in all creation as it is naturally adorned. Nothing fancy was needed, just the recognition of the delicious surprises of sacred Presence.

Rather than happiness, Francis and his brothers and sisters pursued “ perfect joy”: the inexhaustible delight that transcends the character of events that occur. As followers after the example of Saints Francis and Clare, we are drawn to the simple and we find in it authentic liberation.

On Christmas Eve, we were blessed with quiet time with my daughter, son in law and granddaughter, Zoey Ava. Owing to Covid 19, there was no travel agenda as might usually be the case. We had a lovely day of being together accented by a smorgasbord of painstakingly prepared delights for Christmas Eve. Her wonderful dad, Stephan, labored for hours to prepare a spread of scrumptious hors d’oeuvres.

We had creatively prepared meatballs in a balsamic glaze reduction, French Brie with an onion cumin and coriander marmalade, cream cheese stuffed baked jalapeños ( seeds carefully removed) and air-fried eggplant. It was indeed a grand feast!

Surprisingly, Zoey seemed to really enjoy a few bites of the Jalapeños. Then, asked if she wanted more of one or more of the specially prepared treats, she took a few moments of quiet thought and then enthusiastically declared:

“ I want Mac N’ Cheese for Christmas!

We all had a hearty laugh at her honest and simple request for a favorite food, and her Dad promptly complied. Children have an arresting and endearing way of bringing us back to light-heartedness, the beautifully simple and unadorned. They are honest, spontaneous, direct and uncomplicated.

On so many occasions these days , I find myself reflecting on the words of Jesus captured in Matthew 18:3 – “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Special holiday foods are, of course, great fun. What I walked away with was a sense of the sheer joy of even sharing the simplest foods with loved ones. That sharing is the quintessential transformational spice as a moments reflection back to our own childhood Christmases attests.

This is the true and living Eucharistic repast. With love as the principal ingredient, the simplest food and activity enjoyed together becomes a storied memory. As our hearts are converted, the whole world becomes radiant.

I hope you too have many such moments in this sacred season and in the year to come.

Christmas Blessings.

© The Harried Mystic, 2020 and Br. Anton, TSSF. and/or duplications of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Read Full Post »