Monday, December 24, 2018

Offerings at the Manger

The Nativity; engraving by Martin Schongauer (Art Institute of Chicago)
Christmas Eve?! But...we just started the concerts! (You can listen to the music here or download the album on iTunes.) Well, yes, we also just ended the concert series a week ago last night, and got back to our respective communities on Tuesday. Our final concerts, in Los Angeles, put us in contact with so many Hollywood professionals who are living their faith and practicing their art at the highest possible level: what an inspiration!

But how can it be Christmas Eve so soon?

This tends to be the extent of my Advent each year, since our concerts begin at Thanksgiving--but this year we sang clear through the first day of the Christmas novena, too. And now it is Christmas Eve, and I feel I have gathered only a few straws to put in the manger before the little Child will be placed there.

In a way, the "straws" in my manger are what I have accumulated through the year, deposited at the crib as a prayer for their consecration. All the things I have done, or tried to do, of good (the "prayers, actions, joys and sufferings" of the Morning Offering), placed there under the watchful eyes of Mary, accompanied by her prayer. She'll make sure none of it gets lost or goes to waste. There are other things I'm tempted to hide away--failures, shortcomings, words that never should have been spoken--but I can bring these to Mary, too. She was a poor woman, used to making do with whatever she had on hand in order to provide for her family. She'll know what to do with the ruined parts of my year so that in some mysterious way my act of surrendering them to her transforms them into fresh, fragrant straw upon which she can lay her newborn Son.

Whatever your 2018 has been like, bring it to Mary tonight.  And may she grant each of us the joy receiving her Son into our arms, our heart, our life, our year.

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