"Nativity of Christ" by Rohden

“Nativity of Christ” by Rohden

Throughout this year, our readers have gifted us with feedback to our reflections and stories. Our awe-inspiring readers regularly shared their deep convictions that our God is not a character in a book or a historical figure from ancient days. Our God is alive in our midst and acting in our lives on a daily basis. These emails have been packed with heart-touching stories of faith and rock solid examples of trust in your daily relationships with an unconditionally loving God.

Thanks to all from the bottom of this Deacon’s heart!

Dancing with the Holy Spirit.

Some spiritual writers have described this daily relationship with God as a “Dance with the Holy Spirit.” Using this metaphor, we can see that dancing in the Spirit gives me an image of whisking away across the dance floor of life to our favorite music.

However, as I look deeper I see an important aspect of dance as a struggle.  Who leads when dancing?  Of course, the dance is sweetest when the Holy Spirit is leading the dance.  In my experience I am most aware that the more the Spirit leads, the more experience the goodness with God and ultimately a oneness with our God. In other words, I need to “let go to God in my life.”

The courage and faith to let go to the Spirit of God is the source of our hope. The Dance in the Spirit is the “day to day” reality of God in our midst. The Spirit of the Lord is longing to dance with us.  It is our spiritual energy for moving forward and serving our brothers and sisters. Without a doubt, our personal God-stories do not always end in ways that we have chosen. Our dance takes us to places where we would never choose.

All of this has one source – the birth of our Lord on Christmas Day. Christmas was not a one day occurrence.  No, our Baptism calls us to make incarnation come every day! Like Mary and Joseph’s challenges in saying “yes” to God, we are all called in our own ways to do exactly what the Holy Family did years ago – let the Word become Flesh in our hearts and lives.

Christmas is humankind’s invitation to the dance via the Incarnation – God becoming man. Unlike the expectations of the times, Incarnation was neither a Star Wars intergalactic experience nor an explosion in the world like the power of weapons of mass destruction, nor the conquering King coming to take over the world. No, Incarnation was in the silence of a holy night where a world slept and a baby was brought into this world – a child who has the greatest power in simplicity. For us, our call is to a similar simplicity amidst the complications of life.

Pope John Paul II (the Great), taught us in his December 19, 1999 Angelus when he proclaimed to all, “The Word who found a dwelling in Mary’s womb comes to knock on the heart of every person with singular intensity this Christmas.” This is the same for us today and every Christmas. Are you ready for the simplicity of The Word in your heart?

Personal Journey

The past year has been a year of trial and pain for me beyond any other pains in my life. The details are not as important as the rewards I have received by letting the Holy Spirit lead my personal dance. I try to remember that the Word needs to become flesh in my heart daily, to climb these high mountains. Because of the miracle of the intimate relationship with God, the core of my being rejoices at the gifts God continues to award to my family and friends.

These pains have let me grow in ways that make me a better and more compassionate deacon. My heart and mind know that I am unconditionally loved by a God! I remain in awe in how God calls others to soothe my hurts and wounds. The people of God are my hope in ministry and serving you is my gift of joy. From a family that knows the inner me and allows it to grow in creative ways to a parish community that is open to invite me into their personal joys and pains, we all live together in this daily incarnation of joy from Christmas.

May the incarnation via the Christ Child shine brightly in your hearts everyday of your lives! My family; my Parish Community and I wish all of you a Holy and Blessed Christmas.

For Your Reflection

From a Ministry Perspective:

  1. Are you ready for to “let” to The Word be born in your heart so it may flow to the Christian community you serve?
  2. What changes do you need to make to be a better servant of the poor in your midst?

From a Family Perspective:

  1. Are there problems in your family needing to be placed at the feet of the Christ child in the manger? What is your hope this Christmas for improved relationships within family and God?
  2. What specific thing can you do to help your family experience the Dance with the Holy Spirit in their daily lives?

I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas.  Merry Christmas!! 

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