Friday, December 22, 2017

Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice Always!

Written by  David Polzen

Ahhhhhh…the season of Advent. The season of waiting patiently in joyful hope. The season we hear the word ‘rejoice’ so many times. Way back in November I had grand plans for the Advent season. This year, I was going to immerse myself totally into the season and reap the spiritual harvest of a blessed and grace filled Advent season. It was going to be great. This was going to be the year that I was going to reap the Advent fruit of rejoicing. I even planned a few vacation days to have an Advent “retreat” time at the beginning of December. Then Advent arrived, and my plans for a quiet waiting for Christmas spiralled out of sight. Once again, David planned, God giggled, and the journey went a totally different direction. The intent of my retreat days were changed, the pace of things tripled…maybe even quadrupled, and I dove in…2018 budget, financial reports, staffing, programing, hampers, meetings, blogging, quotes, complaints and issues, yada yada yada, the list would go on and on. It is a very busy hectic time of year. I would get home in the late evening to have a bite to eat and catch a few minutes of TV while I ate. I caught tidbits of all the usual December movies. A couple of highlights: watching the movie “Elf,” I related to the Christmas Spirit gauge on Santa’s sleigh registering at zero…exactly where my Christmas spirit was. I caught a few minutes of “Disney’s A Christmas Carol”, and seeing Mr. Scrooge at his desk tracking his accounts and counting his coins made me see myself sitting at my desk working on the 2018 Cathedral budget…bah humbug!

I then caught a tidbit of the movie “The Young Messiah.” Jesus as a child. Hmmmmm…. That is something. It gave me cause for a moment to pause and reflect. Jesus as a baby. Jesus as a child. The Cathedral has children, and plenty of them. Do you know how many children the Cathedral has come thru the doors? Way too numerous to count! There is a great abundance of God’s little ones at the Cathedral, and more to come as I see pregnant moms here and there. All of a sudden, there it was, the harvest of a blessed and grace filled Advent I was wanting. It was an epiphany: to prepare to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, look to the children. Jesus said, let the little children come to me. He blessed them, and they went on their way. (By the way I think Jesus did the same with the apostles??) Ok God… I think I got it. The children are the messengers for me this Advent. You blessed them and sent them to the Cathedral of the Holy Family. They relay the message of REJOICE and trust, of awe and wonder, of being who God created them to be. It became so apparent as I wandered thru the building as schools rehearsed for their concerts. There were visions of angels, and Marys and Josephs, and shepherds and such scurrying around the building filled with enthusiasm, filled with great delight and joy. Their voices were like the heavenly hosts as their little voices belted out the songs they have been preparing for weeks. They were the very flesh of the word ‘rejoice’.

As I continue to reflect, it has been like God sitting beside me in the pew and nudging me every once in a while and whispering: “watch this”, “look at that,” and “pay attention and learn.” It is the most simple things, it seems, that these little ones of God are doing that have a profound and inspirational effect. Watch them. Watch them place their coins into the bucket after their children’s liturgy at Sunday Mass with such enthusiasm. Ever see any of us grown-ups expressing such enthusiasm as the collection plate goes around? Watch them help one another to and from that bucket. Watch the little ones at the sign of peace, extending their hands with shy confidence and exchange the sign of peace with one another. There is a lesson to be learnt. Watch them dance in the aisles or Gathering Space or on the pews as our choirs lead us in song. Hear them sing. Watch them show off their work from children’s liturgy or pew art. Watch and learn. There are spiritual lessons being taught in our midst.

As I prepare for Christmas, I am very happy that God giggled and changed my Advent plans; and by nudging me ever so gently and whispering, “look at my precious little ones and learn from them.” They are powerful little instruments of God. So, thank you to the many little ones that grace the Cathedral with their presence; and who have given witness to God’s message this Advent season. Thank you and please come again, and again, and again.

May we all enter into the Christmas season filled with an abundance of Advent graces so to celebrate the Christmas season with a plenitude of awe and wonder that makes the Advent message of ‘rejoice’ so much more apparent within our souls and how we live out our daily lives.

May you have a merry Christmas and a blessed and grace filled 2018.

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