A Tender Moment
Christmas! Can anyone really explain what it means to celebrate Christmas? We are told by those who meditate often on life in general, that the great experiences of life fall mostly on those who are prepared to receive them. This means, of course, that it is always possible to miss the star that may be rising right above us, and meant for us.
Karl Rahner, S.J., picks up this theme when writing to a friend of his.* In the letter, he invites his friend to have the courage to be alone. He goes on to say that, in such a setting, one may experience what it means to have a Christmas heart, a gentle, courageous and affectionate heart. It is this kind of heart that one longs to present to those we love. Like Rahner’s friend, we are to wait and listen in quiet, and allow God to speak to us. In such an atmosphere, it could happen that we will experience the nearness of God and the light of Christmas.
Although we, ourselves, come with the attitude of gift-bearing, we know that we also come with burdens. We have worries, anxieties, health issues, money and family issues, and troubled relationships, to mention only a few. In the face of this, St. John of the Cross, in his Romance #9, speaks of a different approach, that of gift-exchange. As St. John prays before the Christ Child, he senses that someone is crying. In St. John’s presence, God is taking on the tears of the world and giving in their place an indescribable peace. In addition, the world’s tears become jewels. God, shedding tears because we are hurting: What an awesome Christmas gift! What a tender and breathtaking moment!
*Karl Rahner, Everyday Faith (Herder and Herder, New York, 1968) p.23.
excerpts from Journey and the Joy Winter 2008
Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D