Preparing the way. Are we not always preparing the way for something or someone? I think it is in our DNA!
June 24 is the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist. The herald of the good news, the forerunner of Christ, who called not only the people awaiting the Messiah some 2000 years ago but also us today as we continue to make known the gift of the Messiah. It’s not an easy thing to do to prepare the way. When we consider preparing for anything from summer vacation to a wedding to hosting guests to homework to Christmas; it takes time, effort, energy and desire.
The Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist is known as Little Christmas. That got me thinking about Christmas – not the gift lists, or plans or decorations, rather it got me thinking about the gifts we have received. There are so many… have we been thankful, even in the times when gratitude seems like a hard word? Can we today pause and give thanks for one, two, ten, twenty or more gifts we have received since last Christmas?
I also began to ponder the hopes we hold on to or realize at Christmas. Maybe promises we make, resolutions we aim for, moments we want to capture, dreams we speak aloud. Have we revisited these since they came to light amid the glow of the Christmas tree? Which ones have we had to let go of? Which ones have become reality? Which ones do we need to embrace more for they call to us again and again?
I also ponder how we live out being Children of Light. How do we live out the blessings of Christmas? Peace, joy, hope, community, generosity and comfort all seem to be blessings we hold dear at Christmas time. How do we continue to share them throughout the year? Little Christmas is our halfway reminder that these blessings are still ours and we are called to share them with others.
As we move into summer time (and summer vacation for some) let us consider how we can share these blessings?
Peace – can we offer a prayer for peace in our homes, community and world every day? Who do we need to forgive so peace can flourish? Is it ourselves?
Joy – can we bring joy to someone who is hurting or suffering? Can we brighten someone’s day with a note left for a neighbor, a hug shared with someone? A game played with children? A patio party with friends we don’t see often?
Hope – can we spend time looking at what hope is to us and where we find it in the journey? How does it empower us? Who can we bring hope to? How?
Community – can we give back to our community? In what concrete ways? From picking up litter, to helping with an event, to welcoming new neighbors, to greeting each other at Mass we are called to build up the kingdom. Can we make our communities stronger and more welcoming?
Generosity – seems to abound in December. Can we recharge those generosity skills? Food banks struggle the most during summer time to provide food, can be generous here? What about that elderly neighbour whose grass just never seems to get cut? What about the young mom who would appreciate a coffee date or maybe even just someone to visit her as she takes her child to the park? What about that charity that we never got in December? There are so many options… and we so often let false fears hold us back… let generosity abound.
Comfort – can we offer this gift of being present to someone in a world that is instant everything? Can we take the time to bear the burden for someone and help raise them up? Can we assist in some way someone who is mourning
I like this idea of Little Christmas… it is a good reminder that like the John the Baptist we are always called to prepare the way of the Lord for you just never know where or when Jesus will appear. Let us bravely and enthusiastically walk with our God as we give thanks for our gifts, water the roots of our hopes that we planted and live out the blessings which our God so generously shares with us.
May the sun shine bright on the path ahead and God Bless Us… Everyone!