Advent Faith Stories: Holy Ground
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
For as long as I can remember, the family Christmas tree has provided a sacred ground for me. As a child I would lie on the floor in the glow of the lights, dream of baby Jesus and contemplate the activities of the season that seemed to produce a joy that enveloped everyone in my young world — baking Christmas cookies, practicing the nativity pageant at church, the ring of the doorbell almost every night announcing the drop-in visits of friends and neighbors. I would also dream of the magic of Santa Claus and the endless possibilities of the surprises he might bring.
As a teenager, my Christmas tree reveries centered around hope — hope for a wondrous future, for new adventures, for new people in my life. I think in some ways during those young
years, the time spent with the silence of the Christmas tree was a quest to fill that place in my heart that was reaching out for completion, for fulfillment. In that holy ground, I was able to release all my fears and worries and was free to be totally myself.
As a young mother, it was the gratitude of fulfillment that filled my thoughts in my Christmas tree space — a loving husband and a delightful baby boy who both showered my world with all the excitement, turmoil and misadventures that make life so very wonderful and difficult at the same time.
And now, as I live alone, I always have difficulty contemplating the un-decorating and removal of my Christmas tree. For the few weeks that it graces the living room, adorned only with small lights of many colors and a few handcrafted butterflies, it always gives me the gifts of peace and wonder. The glow of the beautiful lights in the darkness becomes part of my meditation and prayer time every morning. It helps me enter the silence of listening and waiting. I don’t want to begin my days without it.
That is what the Christmas tree is for me — a refuge, a place of total peace, a crucible of hope and a holy place of waiting
Prayer: God of the ages, be with us as we enter this season of waiting. In the silence, open our ears to hear your whisper and our hearts to welcome Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.