It’s good to be back in Pilgrim’s familiar sanctuary space after a couple of weeks on leave, to feel the soft comfort of the carpet beneath my feet, to watch the light dance in from the windows, to see crayons and cushions and kids’s books waiting to be put to use in Sunday’s worship ….

My heart thrills with the memories of a moving Advent|Christmas|Epiphany journey:
~ of a giant star and shepherds adorning the roof to proclaim the story,
~ of old carols sung with great joy,
~ of a bare Christmas tree brought to life with each week’s additions,
~ of children baking gingerbread biscuits for morning tea,
~ of seekers walking the labyrinth,
~ of heartfelt and spontaneous communal prayer for the world’s great need,
~ of hands stretched out in comfort and fellowship to those evacuated from the fires,
~ of a little church in Mangoplah absolutely packed on Christmas Eve with friends and families from across the Southern Region bound together by song and food and laughter ….

For us as a family, there has also been the usual jumble of emotions after the departure of visiting family, the announcement of long-awaited HSC results, two trips to the emergency room to patch up injuries, the death of a beloved pet, the long monotony of the school holidays punctuated sporadically by family outings and a seasonal cold, end-of-year cleaning out and tidying up, and a seemingly endless stream of washing ….

This is both the gift and the mystery of the Incarnation for me – that God is to be found not only in the sacred and the special but in this moment of this day: in the slow typing of text across this page, in the faces of the people passing by (some clearly happy and others decidedly unhappy), in mundane discussions about telephones and storage, in items checked off the to-do list, and a quiet moment in which to savour a sip of coffee and daydream for a while.

As Benedictine sister Joan Chittister prays:

Loving God,
You who dwell in our hearts,
make for us a cave there in which to hear your voice more distinctly,
feel your care more tenderly,
understand your will more clearly,
and come to know your presence at every moment of our lives
with new clarity and new courage,
with new faith and new urgency.

May the presence of the Christ-child grow with and in you, today and always.


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