Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Christmas Pilgrimage

Mary Jo Anderson reflects upon the challenges of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas in a secular society. (We still have our tree up, too. Happy Epiphany!) As she says:
Our Christmas tree still blinks in the window, though most of our neighbors have taken down all signs of Christmas. Our nativity remains on the front lawn, too, and will until after the Feast of the Epiphany.

Each year it seems we struggle harder to "keep Christmas" amid the marketeering that now characterizes what most Americans experience simply as "the holidays." Is it any wonder that this blessed season, overshadowed by commercial preparations, leaves some of us harried and spiritually vacant?

We are invited by the liturgical rhythm to make an interior Christmas pilgrimage, beginning with Advent and following the Holy Family all the way to the Adoration of the Magi. That first Christmas was not simply a Roman command to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for Caesar's census; for the Holy Family, it was an interior journey of faith in God, in His promises and His providence.

We have listened to the story yearly; we know by heart each verse of the Gospel. And yet, do we identify with Mary and Joseph's struggle to trust in the cosmic promise that the Divine Word, the Son of God, would enter history to be born of a humble maid? And if it were truly God's will, why was there no room at the inn? Why was there no advance party to prepare a grand way for the Holy Child?
The human couple discovered God's plan in the doing of His of will. It is part of their journey of faith that -- somehow, despite appearances -- they learned that God was going before them. It is this interior journey of trust that one makes when going on pilgrimage.


May said...

I love the 12 days of Christmas.

SuzanneG said...

Hi, Elena! Hope you are having a glorious Christmas season! I've been enjoying your last week's posts.

We are still actively celebrating Christmas over here!!! Just had a fun-filled day of Epiphany celebrations complete with a Galette des Rois and a Blessing of our home with the Chalk marks above the door. Off to a tour of the Cathedral tomorrow to see the Creche. Probably won't take the tree down until this weekend. LOVE the 12 days!
God Bless you and your family,

elena maria vidal said...

Good to hear from you, Suzanne! Have a wonderful Twelfth Night!