Month: December 2022

True Christmas


Then leave your open house and noise,
To welcome Him with holy joys,
And the poor shepherds’ watchfulness,
Whom light and hymns from Heav’n did bless.
What you abound with, cast abroad
To those that want, and ease your load.   

~ taken from The True Christmas by Henry Vaughn

Merry Christmas, beloveds!

When the Heart Quietens



what we need is here.

And we pray,

not for new earth or heaven,

but to be

quiet in heart, and in eye, clear.

What we need is here.    Wendell Berry


          Over and over, I hear them. The softest of bells silvering heaven’s word into the last days to Christmas.

What you need is here

Right here

          The long drive to bring our children home from college. Tree-lined roads curling and curving, like hands passing us safely from point to point. We arrived safely at the beautiful college and hours later, back home once more. I put my hands together in grateful thanks to a God who kept us safe to live another day on this earth. It meant so much to be safe and with family when the earth had just reclaimed 33 other lives at the base of a green valley, this past Friday.

What you need is here

What matters most to us

Often lie closest to us

          Crowded into our daughter’s campus room, we waited for our son to return from a site visit, to return home together. As my husband lay down a bit for some much needed rest, the others huddled together, giggling and laughing softly.

          And I sat at my girl’s neat desk to work on my studies.

          On the desk, a small figurine of Our Lady kept gentle watch over us all in that tiny room, spotless, neat yet cosy, filled with the heart of a child careful to care for all she has been given. A child who had come into this world, accompanied for a while, who then was left to make her beautiful way, from those early years to the now.

          Waiting to gather my thoughts, I ran my gaze over all that lay before me. Tenderly pinned into the felt board were pictures of our past, of children we will always love, who’ve taught us so much about God and life. Notes from a young girl to herself, careful to prepare for her days, unwilling to squander a single moment. Neatly arranged on the small desk were the many little things that told of her daily life away from us, each in its carefully assigned place.

          At its centre, serenely positioned, was Our Lady, after whom our precious one is named, quietly assuring me that our child is held close to Her maternal heart.

          A deep, deep peace flooded through me, stretching my heart to its edges. It was a fullness not often discerned, yet gently tucked in now.

What you need is here, right here

          Later, after a reunion with our son, all of us together, packed tight into a car too small yet enough. Back through those tree-lined boughs. Back to the old home where we had welcomed each one of our children as God sent them to us, one by one. 

          Through them all, as the old day creases in and the new one turns out, tiny bells come on the breath of rain~blessed winds. My heart stirs towards each chime.

          Christmas might be in a couple of days’ time.

          But it’s also already here.

That which matters the most       

Falls unseen by the wayside of the careless, busied gaze

But perceived

when love slows to savour and to thank.

For when the heart is quiet,

the eye is indeed clear.



The Wait of Song


Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.   James 5: 7 – 8


          I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so conscious of the phrase be patient as I have recently. These two little words seem to be popping up rather frequently before my seeking heart.

This divine Heart is naught but sweetness, humility and patience, therefore, we must wait. . . He knows when to act.

~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          For good reason too, I guess, for patience has never been my virtue. Even if time and age have smoothened out some of the tension and tightness that is part of the wait for any fulfilment, I’m far from being cured of running my gaze over the distant hills, trying to make out the shapes in the mists beyond.

          But the good Lord to Whom no fold or crease of my spirit is foreign, has gently tucked the remedy for waiting into my Advent knowing this year. Every time the holy call of patience comes, God asks that I


          To not save my paeans of joy for only sunbursts, pieces of good news that lift the heart to soaring heights.

          Instead, to sing with my heart, at the tiniest sighting of spring in the sombre winter’s wait. To sing even when snowdrifts threaten to bury deep the few lamps that burn.

          Indeed, that must be the way of my wait, till the Child King comes,

The wait of song.

3 Gifts


This divine Heart is naught but sweetness, humility and patience, therefore, we must wait. . . He knows when to act.

~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque


          Advent is many things but above all, it is the season of waiting. Shedding more and more of the weight of the year as we make our way to Christmas, we nevertheless tuck petitions into heaven’s gates. Even those who claim they have nothing to ask of God do indeed ask to be loved by their very dismissal of God.

          I have a heart full of asking, myself. Ever the one for asking, not even Christmas deters me from wearing down the path to heaven. But like so many others, I believe I have good reasons to petition God and so I do. That we get all our baking and cleaning done with fewer occasions of frayed tempers. That I meet my two academic deadlines in the next two weeks. That our quiet Christmas goes well despite not being able to be with extended family due to our older children’s very short Christmas break and conflicting college schedules. For a Christmas gift of a more joyful and manageable work life for my husband and me.

          Oh, and that a nice wind blows into our town and blows out our new boss and another colleague who just cannot allow anyone to rest simply because they do not have peace within themselves to do so!

          A few quiet minutes before the day ends for us, comes this gentle word from heaven.

This divine Heart is naught but sweetness, humility and patience, therefore, we must wait.

          In a thrice, I see what is lacking in my asking. And also, what has been in rather short supply in recent days.

Sweetness, humility and patience.

          I think of the mountains in our life which need moving. The little Christmas petitions aside, we have other deep concerns regarding our jobs and our nation’s future. But St. Margaret Mary comes to remind me that it is not my job to move those mountains. Mine is to choose sweetness, humility and patience in all I do, and as I wait for Christmas. Heaven is asking of me 3 gifts for the Child to come in 3 weeks.

          I bow my heart. Not my will but Thine be done.