I am reposting an article I’ve posted several times in the past at this time of year, featuring a poem written by my friend, Darlene Dubay, entitled, “Tree of Hope,” reflecting on the tree itself that became the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
Starting from a tiny seed, Darlene conceptualizes what that tree was thinking as it grew, was chopped down and became a cross.
Darlene is a talented and gifted writer and poet and her book, Walking is a Prayer: Glimpses of a Spiritual Journey, was released in 2020.
Hope! It is a gift I cannot refuse.
Belief. It is the assumption that God catches us when reality doesn’t match our expectations and we begin to fall.
We may not be aware of being caught and held safely because the terror of falling is too great. But regardless of how we feel, God is there, like the parachute keeping a skydiver from plummeting to earth.
A skydiver has learned to turn fear of falling into a heady joy of floating before opening the chute. When reality has dashed my dreams, I need to turn my fear of falling into floating with the parachute ready to open and set me safely down on the ground when the time is right.
Christmas: a shining star – a break from the tedious schedules in which we find ourselves. A time to gather and connect with friends and family.
But Christmas is more than a nice diversion – a blip on the radar screen of our hectic lives.
- For a moment in time we escaped drudgery, pressures, anxiety, and uncertainties.
- For a moment in time we humbly knelt before the Christ Child whose birthday we celebrate.
- For a moment in time we laid down our heavy burdens of doubt and fear and unanswered questions and savored the blessings of Christmas.
This has been a difficult year with the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, the inability to meet with each other, give hugs, and share concerns of the day.
We have learned to use more technology to operate our businesses and hold group meetings. We have driven up to our churches and stayed in our cars to listen to our pastors speak or we have listened to sermons on YouTube.
We have had groceries delivered and become familiar with masks. We have prayed and reached out to each other in the safest way possible.
It has been a surreal world – one in which we struggle to create a sense of normalcy. We are even learning how to sing as a choral group, rehearsing without gathering together in a group.
A time to laugh and a time to cry.
Every year we prepare for the traditional changes that occur with the different seasons – fall to winter, winter to spring, etc. We can also identify with the writer of Ecclesiastes when he talks about the seasons of life we go through. But we are not always ready to accept them, especially when that season exchange is out of sync with our expectations.
We want the pleasant things – we don’t want the unpleasant.
We don’t want to give up one to gain the other. We want life – not death. We want laughter and joy, not weeping and mourning. Yet both are necessary components to life.
I believe it is only within our difficulties, troubles and losses where we discover more about life and ourselves.
Christmas: a shining star – a break from the tedious schedules we find ourselves in. But Christmas is more than a nice diversion – a blip on the radar screen of our hectic lives.
- For a moment in time, we escaped the drudgery, the pressures, anxiety, and uncertainties.
- For a moment in time, we celebrated with one another and shared gifts.
- For a moment in time, we humbly knelt before the Christ Child whose birthday we celebrate.
- For a moment in time, we laid down our heavy burdens of doubt and fear and unanswered questions.
And now Christmas is over for another year: the torn wrappings stuffed in bags ready for the garbage pickup, bows packed away to use again next year. Families have returned home, and we collapse in an easy chair, take a deep sigh and try to relax.