Sunday Morning Musings: I heard a story about a child born in December who once remarked that he wanted to celebrate his birthday in July. To explain this choice he simply said that the way things are now everything happens in December and then I have to wait a year for it all to happen again. There was little question about his thought process. Even more so was his contention that everything happens in December (well at least seems to happen).
Many nursing homes will tell you much the same thing. The person responsible for programming events has to work overtime to try to fit all the extras into their schedules. Groups or choirs they may not hear from any other time of year try to make arrangements to visit in December. I understand part of their reasoning to be that they have usually prepared all autumn for a December concert and want to share their work which is a wonderful gift. However, the overlap can be almost “too much of a good thing”.
It also seems that since most people are in a “Christmassy” mood that they may also be more willing to give. As a result there are all kinds of “food” drives and “toy” drives. None of these asks are wrong and are greatly needed. Giving to or sharing with others in need is important. In his daily meditations Richard Rohr quotes Sally McFague who says: “[I]f one understands God to be not a ‘substance’ but the active, creative love at work in the entire universe, then ‘loving God’ is not something in addition to loving the world, but is rather the acknowledgement that in loving the world, one is participating in the planetary process (which some identify as ‘God’) of self-emptying love at all levels.”
I understand Rohr to be telling us in part that to give of ourselves is to be acting as we are intended to act – lovingly, which in turn reveals the divine within us. And I would be the last person to ever suggest that we should not be more God-like.
What I would like to suggest is that we need to try to be as active in our revealing God within us throughout the whole year. What if we could have “White Gift” Sunday once a month instead of once a year? Even our public network TV channels would prefer regular monthly installments over once a year giving. Spreading things out throughout the whole year is a good idea. I remember one time being asked by the group home our Sunday School was planning to visit to sing and offer gifts was asked if we would come in January when the residents were so overwhelmed with “visitors”.
December is often considered a very busy time for us all. In the Church we hold extra services, groups from inside the church or outside clamour for space to hold their functions. In many ways we tend to feed the frency that happens in December (actually starting in late November with Black Friday sales).
Perhaps one of the best things that happens, at least for me, is that late on December 24th, most of the busyness seems to stop for a bit – and voices young and old join in the singing of “Silent Night”. And though we may hold many different views and opinions about what the birth of a baby in Bethlehem may mean, there comes a stillness that can penetrate the heart.
If only, we could find a way to keeps that feeling all year long instead of just once a year and not have to wait a full year for it to happen again.