Posted by: jevcat | December 26, 2010

Oh Little Town of Staten Island

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given …

It’s Boxing Day:  Snow falls outside, Roger and Sam the golden retriever are napping the bedroom, Ozzie the marmalade tabby is curled in a somnolent ball in the recliner, kitten George is slumbering on the sofa, exhausted from chasing snowflakes through the window, and I have been nestled next to him with a mug of tea, catching up on the weekend papers and trying not to join the dozing crowd.

After all the noise and frantic activity of the last few weeks, we are all at home and enjoying a near-silent Sunday Sabbath St. Stephen’s day (yes, studying Anglo-Saxon poetry in college has scarred me with a love of alliteration).  I have committed to making meatballs for dinner and will probably decorate the tree in a little while.  I try to keep Advent Advent as much as possible so tend to get my tree later than usual, which means that this will not be the first year the tree gets decorated during the Twelve Days rather than before (we won’t talk about when it comes down … ).  Meanwhile, it sits there, looking pretty and smelling good, which is mostly what matters to me, adorned only with a broad red satin ribbon that was ‘round a package, an angel ornament I found while digging in a drawer for red Christmas candles that had been put away, and this year’s crocheted snowflake that one of our friends makes and sends each year.

I find myself wondering what the day after the first Christmas was like – also a respite?  A quiet moment between one crisis and the next?  All that rush and stress to get to Bethlehem, the crowds, no room at the inn (but I booked months ago!), the birth among the animals, and all the noise and unexpected visitors:   angels singing (loud neighbor parties), curious shepherds (nosy neighbors), not to mention the magi (what does one serve royalty in a stable?) with their bewildering gifts:  gold (always welcome, of course – we could use some ourselves about now), frankincense (most people enjoy getting perfume), but myrrh for burial? (“You brought us myrrh … ummm … how nice; do you still have the receipt?” – aside to Joseph:  “What were they thinking?”).  And all the while not knowing the next crisis was just around the corner:  the perilous trek to safety, life as refugees in Egypt (at least there’s always a market for carpenters, even if you can’t speak the language), when they were thinking the biggest problem was just getting back to Nazareth (will all that fit on the donkey – where’s a hatchback when you need one?).

But for a day, quiet, some breathing space, the pleasure of being together, safe, and warm, whatever tomorrow holds:  comfort and joy, present and seeping through the cracks.  Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in – and may we not forget it, and keep at least a little of the feeling as strength for going forward.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I preached about angels this morning, and people seemed to like it, but your homily for St. Stephen’s Day is better than mine was. Laughed out loud!

    • Thanks, Francesca. Happy St. Stephen’s Day!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: