Newsletter - Christmas 2015
Dear Friends of Carmel,
The newsletter almost didn’t happen this year, but once it was re-named the “Better Late Than Never” letter, it started gaining momentum. We so much want you all to know that, even though you hear from us less frequently these days, you are always in our hearts and in our prayer. Though we are in the midst of the cornfields, we have our hearts open to the whole world, and you are a special part of that world!
2015 has gone by at lightning speed and although it seems as if it should be about June and it feels like October outside, Christmas is almost here again. Though this year’s Christmas season is quite short, this only means that we have a longer time to carry it inside our hearts and out to the world.
As we did last year, we have again helped the local economy this year with endless needed repairs and replacements. Notable new additions include the chair lifts on the 2 stairs leading upstairs and down from the garage level landing. These were made possible by a private grant from the trust of a family of relatives of our deceased Sister Miriam Meade. We had told them of our needs and instead of a usual smaller grant, they surprised us by offering to finance the entire project! We are so very grateful!
Another major event was the replacement of our old workhorse cooler in the garage. It finally gave up the ghost after over a quarter century of service. We purchased a new, energy-efficient model, and wanting this one in the house on the lower level, had found a perfect place for it. Getting it there was, however, a more challenging task than we had bargained for! Thanks to the perseverance and energy of the team of 3 from Lowes who delivered it and were here half a day, the ingenuity of Kevin who was working here on another project, and a praying, cheering squad of nuns, it was finally in place. This was after going down stairs, through doorways and sharp turns around corners and under a dropped ceiling. For those of us who were there, it was unforgettable! (You may have noticed that your other prayer requests were temporarily on hold for a few hours that day……..).
We have shared so many ups and downs with all of you this year as prayers were answered in many ways – not always the ways we had expected. Outcomes were both happy and sad, encouraging and disappointing, but always prayers were answered. In God’s greater vision, the answers were probably all “just right”, but we don’t often get to see that larger perspective.
In many ways, the chaos of our present time carries echoes of the days Jesus walked the earth in the flesh. This is especially true with the fear-inducing events generated by those seeking to oppress and conquer others. Every age has its “terrorists”. Now, as then, the only dependable refuge of safety is our God. Knowing that we are all loved and cherished by God, no matter what is going on around us, is a very comforting thought. And God always seeks our good!
No human agency can guarantee our protection in this world and God didn’t promise us a rose garden here. However, the main thing to remember is that we never walk unaccompanied. Whatever happens to us, we are embraced by God’s love , and guidance is given to our listening hearts in every situation.
Jesus’ birth brought joy and hope to the burdened people of that day. And now that hope is the gift of God’s presence in us and in the world. We only notice the shadows around us because a light is shining behind them. Let’s keep our eyes on the Light – the Light of Christ, who has come into the world to be one with us always. As we go through this Holy Year of Mercy, let us be people of hope and peace, who can bring that light and mercy to others.
We wish you all much joy and many blessings in the New Year! You are always in our prayer!
Your Carmelite Sisters in Eldridge, Iowa
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