Monday, December 27, 2010

Compilation Christmas! Favorite Seasonal Reflections from IMS

Snow, late departures, side trips to Annapolis, visit with Fella ... all have combined to suck me dry of time-slash-inspiration in this last week of the year. But all is not lost at Italian Mother Syndrome when I can fall back on that reliable blog format, the round-up.

So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite Christmas-related reflections and items for you to nibble on as you ease your way in 2011. See you in the new year!

5 Easy Ways to Survive Christmas (a handy guide to making it through the holiday season in one piece)

Advent Reflection: Does fear reverse faith? (a meditation on our relationship with God at the darkest time of the year)

Don't eat Jesus' friends! Or, the origins of La Vigilia (a look at the Italian tradition that occupies weeks of my mother's time and at least three days of my digestive tract)

Prayer #93: Fade to White (a prayer about peace, 'indestructible and indescribable')

Prayer #46: God Bless Us, Everyone (words to help you praise both the season and the reason!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Prayer #145: Adventageous

Prayer #145: Adventageous

Holiday retail forecast. Self-gifting. Pent-up demand. All Very Important Terms from Very Important People that have become economic gospel for the holiday season.

We keep watch over these numbers like shepherds guard flocks. We pore over indexes that indicate optimism and comb through data that indicate hope. Dollar signs are our Stars of Bethlehem -- bright beacons leading us to stability and security.

Yet figures can only take us so far. Faith must do the rest.

Lord, this Christmas season, show us a different kind of stable. Teach us how to proceed along dark and dangerous paths with only starlight and searching eyes. Encourage our continued belief in successful outcomes, but help us reframe which ones we follow.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Prayer #144: Keep On The Wait

"Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?"

Prayer #144: Keep On The Wait

How will I know you when I see You?

The season's darkness shadows Your face. The rain obscures Your voice. The cold keeps You at arm's length.

So how I will know if I cannot see? Or hear? Or touch?

In fact, now that I think about it, people always seem to be asking You this question. From prison cells and upper rooms, along country paths and city sidewalks, in times of joy and times of despair -- it doesn't matter. We all have to ask. And very few of us seem assured in the answer.

I'll ask again anyway, though. Because even if asking appears to waste time, it helps me lead a life that seeks the answer. And to me, that's worth the wait.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Prayer #143: Into The Wind

Taken December 2010 in Marianna, Fla.

Prayer #143: Into The Wind

In wan light of creeping day
I shield my eyes to look away
While all around the winter wind
Hums its tune of lonely sin.

It buffets me up on that hill
With what I've done, did not, and will --
I brace myself, defenses thin,
With no escape from winter wind.

Then in fading sun I see
The shadows of a copse of trees.
I rush beside them, crouch within,
To hide my face from winter wind.

Ah, but 'hide' is not a choice,
For soon I hear Your gentle voice:
"Why keep your heart from winter wind
When it could be where love begins?"

No sooner did You speak these words
My sins took wing as little birds
Out toward the horizon dim,
Carried by the winter wind.

The tumult faded. I stood still
And gazed around that quiet hill,
Thus marking how and what I'd been
When I learned You were winter wind.