Thursday, December 24, 2009

The "crank factor"...

It's Christmas Eve. We are nearly ready to greet the Savior. The monastery has been buzzing for the last 24 hours. Somehow, in that time, we manage to decorate the entire house. A few "key players" are at the heart of the beauty in our community room: Sisters Henry Marie, Joan Ann, Mary Patricia. The Chapel is transformed by Sisters Laurence, Patricia Anne, Mary, Postulant Karen and several lay friends who return faithfully each year to climb the ladders and hang the ribbons. Sister Pat is busy with last minute details of Christmas dinner. Sister Cecilia is practicing with Sister Veronica in Chapel. Joanna, who has been living with us since August, is a choir director by training, so this year, the sisters' schola will have a conductor. The best part is that we sing from the heart. When we begin the carols at 11:30 PM, it will be prayer.

So...I'll bet you're wondering about the title of this blog. It actually came from Sister Veronica - used with permission, of course. We were hanging ribbons and greens on the front porch yesterday. I was telling Sister that I had encountered so many grim, frustrated people in town. The line at the local Post Office was positively silent and brooding. People stood with their heavy packages and fumed at the length of the line. Some just drifted off in silent resignation. It made me sad. The parking lots in town were no better. The remnant of the blizzard had covered many parking places and made visibility at corners quite challenging. Again, more "in-a-hurry" people beeped at one another or raced for places to park. Again, more sullen faces on the check-out lines. I wonder how good-hearted people can get so down with Christmas so close? Why do the pressures of the season choke off the possibility of joy? What is it about our preparations for the holiday that bog us down? What could we do differently next year to keep the great gift of Christ's coming in focus? How can we reduce the "crank factor" in ourselves or soothe it in others?

I don't have the answer. All I know is that Christmas comes in the heart and not in a box or an envelope. It will come whether or not we've found the "perfect gift" or not. It is the baby in the stable who is the perfect gift - Emmanuel - God with us. And His peace will be gift enough for all of us.
Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki