Thursday Reflection 12.13.18

Thursday Reflections
What is God Calling Me To Do
December 13, 2018
What are the events, experiences, gifts-you-receive, services-you-do-for others that bring you joy this time of the year? I know so many of us are running amuck trying to balance family and work, children and spouse, shopping and prioritizing, travel and home, community and (perhaps) church. So many folks longing to be happy and to “feel” all that peace and joy we are supposed to feel at this time of the year. Heck, we might even tolerate the nasty unusual cold that has hit our region prematurely. It feels better (so I am told) at Christmastime! (yeah .. right!)
           But as I have written in years past, I also know that this time of the year brings, to some, not all, a mixed emotional bag full of memories – terrible image – and not all of them so good. Clergy know of this season as a time of telephone calls and walk-in unexpected appointments of those who continue to struggle with life’s unfairness and pains. There are those feel no joy do feel angrier because they can’t find whatever it is they think they need to give them that peace.
           One of the few blessings of growing older is to live through such times and to learn that in spite of certain undeniable truths (such as: life is unfair; your friends will never always support you; death always takes away those we love much too soon; family is loveable but at times infuriating – and a plethora of other annoying facts), I have come to learn that joy comes in simpler ways. And I have to stop running, and take that moment to experience them and not just rush to where I think my schedule next demands I must be.
           So I found great joy in the voices of all those carolers singing up a storm last Saturday Evening at the Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long. Perhaps for some, this might be their only experience of Church. I hope not – they know not what they are missing. But if it is, then they were touched at least for a moment. A parishioner shares a good moment in what I know to be a struggling relationship at home – and for a few moments I feel the joy and hope within that person that is not always there – again, for good reasons!  No matter what time of morning, afternoon, evening or night when I come schlepping back to clergy residence, I am greeted by the world’s most opinionated control freak puppy with sniffing snout and wagging tail and a wondrous “I am so happy to see you; you are my joy and life; I love you always; now don’t I deserve a treat?” welcome.
           I find joy when someone, anyone, remarks that a religious message at this time of the year, not necessarily from me but from any religious leader to whom they have listen of whose text they read, has made a difference for them and made them think. I am filled with joy when people find Christ in Christmas and know that this truth will set them free.
           You can’t make everyone happy. You will not always be happy. But there will be moments when God’s hand can slow you down and touch your soul. I hope you’ll stop and experience those moments.
Fr. Joe