Monday, December 17, 2012

In Response to Myself

Yesterday while Jeremy baked WAY too many cookies in the kitchen, I quietly sat and composed our Christmas letter to immediate family. For many years we have been doing charitable donations in lieu of presents for the adults in the family, and we try to always have something to give or mail them to describe exactly where their money is going.

Since we had dragged our feet on donating yet this year, the opportunity was perfect for us to donate money to help the victims of the tragedies of the school shooting in CT.

After consideration, we chose to donate to the St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, CT. This is the catholic church very close to the school which you may have seen on TV, hosting vigels and services for the families. We donated a considerable sum of money on behalf of our immediate family and asked that it be used speficially to help the families of the victims, as they see fit.

So I sat and composed my letter and was generally happy with it and decided to include a quote from a Christmas prayer written by Max Lucado on 12/14.

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod's jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence...

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

After stamping our letter and mailing it away, I began to regret the darkness of the quote that I chose. I suppose my thinking was that this is a serious matter and now is my chance to speak seriously. But I realize that this quote is kind of a bummer more than it is an offering of hope.

I feel a little bit like I sent out a letter saying....'Oh hey, we're not going to buy you presents and let use remind you of the dead kids and here's a quote about how dark the world is.'

I just hope our family didn't take it that way. I hope I didn't make anybody even more sad.

I guess the thing about the quote that had struck me was the statement that the world is dark, but that it always has been dark. Fa la la! But there is hope in the fact that people persevere, and that God offers us amazing amounts of spite of the darkness.

So here on the blog, I'd like to offer another, more hopeful word to our family (and everyone). This may have been what I meant to say. Consider this your official amendment.

    Prayer of St. Francis

    Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
    where there is injury, pardon;
    where there is doubt, faith;
    where there is despair, hope;
    where there is darkness, light;
    and where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
    to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood as to understand;
    to be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

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