I attended Christmas Eve Mass with my neighbor, Wendy. As we chatted on the car ride, my phone rang. Despite the Scam label, I answered and heard a smooth voice from the St. Mary’s Prayer Center asking me if I was in urgent need of prayer. Although I was, I clicked the phone off knowing I was on my way to pray with hundreds of others seeking God and celebrating Jesus’ birth.
As I stepped out of the car, the phone somehow slipped away from me. I realized the phone was missing while I waited for the Mass to begin and I checked it to make sure it was turned off. My phone wasn’t there. Like so many people, the phone is symbolic of life. “My life is on that phone, I would be lost without it,” I thought to myself. But I put aside my thought of the phone, and surrendered to the idea I would look for it after the service, believing it slipped onto the car floor.
And that’s how it is, so many distractions intervene confusing our life’s tasks with our search for God, making us believe those tasks and not God give our lives meaning.
When we returned to the car, I looked on the floor and the phone wasn’t there. I was about to tell my friend of my dilemma when suddenly a young woman knocked on the car window.
She held out my phone and asked if it was mine. Yes it was. She found it on the ground next to the car and kept it safe for me. Standing next to her was her father who told me: “We waited for you.”
And there was the meaning of Christmas held out to me by strangers who offered me redemption–finding for me what I had lost–my symbolic life.
The modern interpretation of the Christmas story emphasizes the diligent search of the Three Wise men who follow a mysterious blinking Eastern Star to direct their journey. And at the end, they offer the Holy Family precious materials of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
“Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying,
“Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.
Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”
But what might be given equal weight is how the Holy Family waited for the Three Wise Men and accepted them into their space. Mary and Joseph had good reason to be suspicious of strangers during Herod’s decree to kill children under the age of two. It would have been in Mary and Joseph’s best interest to keep on the move as to prevent baby Jesus being discovered by Herod’s men.
Yet, however long it took for the Wise Men to arrive at baby Jesus’s feet, the family was there.
Wherever you are in your journey to find God, may you find some strength in knowing
Love and Light on this Christmas Day.
© 2018 Brenda Henning