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Saturday 23 December 2017

A Meditation for Christmas Eve

mary-joseph24 December

Fr Richard writes:

My father’s favourite hymn is not very well-known now: “Thou did’st leave thy throne and thy kingly crown when thou cam’st down to earth for me.” Its refrain instilled an important message: “O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.”

The following meditation for Christmas Eve might help us find a way to do this….

No Room at the Inn

These are chilling words. And they are true of us – especially at Christmas. We know that the reason for the season is to celebrate Christ’s birth and we say that this is what we want to do. Yet, we get so busy with decorating, buying presents (and queuing), and going to parties (and getting stuck in traffic) – and we add all these things to our normal busy lives.

There is no room for the Lord in our hearts when we’re rushing around, pushing to get more done, and trying so hard to make people happy. Like the Innkeeper whose Inn was too full for Jesus.

If Jesus is our Beloved then we’ll spend time being with him. We’ll take to heart his Word to us: “Be still and know that I am God”. We’ll enjoy being alone with him – at Christmas time and throughout the year.

Many of us are afraid to be alone with God. Being busy excites us. Accomplishing things helps us feel important. We think there are people who need us now and things that we have to get done ASAP.

And maybe we’re especially afraid of quiet. What do we do with silence? It feels unfocused and unproductive. It’s unfamiliar. In our culture we’re used to noise. In conversations we’re quick to interrupt a silent pause. When we’re driving alone in our cars we turn on the radio or play music on our phones. In the evening we turn on the television or computer rather than relaxing quietly. Then in the morning we break the silence with an alarm or a radio blaring at us.

Why all this noise? What is it about being alone and quiet that scares us? We’re afraid to see inside our own souls and so we divert our attention away from what’s going on in our depths. Silence and solitude open up our soul, making us aware of any restlessness, unfulfilled longings, insecurities, loneliness, or sense of inadequacy.

And we’re afraid to let go. The sacred paths of silence and solitude with Jesus require that we release our reputation and “success” into the hands of the Lord.

When we step away from people and projects then we let go of managing things – and a lot of stress too! We’re practising trust in God that he will direct things for his good purposes. Then, like the stormy seas we can respond to Jesus’ words, “Peace. Be still!”.

When we make room for the Lord Jesus, opening up our hearts to him, then we learn to enjoy his peace. The silent night is a holy night as we discover that “All is calm, all is bright, round yon virgin, mother and child.”FullSizeRender-3Our crib, waiting for the figure of the Infant Jesus....