The reality of the messy Nativity

I’ve said this before: the story of the Nativity lives in everyone’s heart. The story of the messy first Christmas is your story: you know what it is like to lose control, to deal with the unexpected, to put your life in danger for the sake of others, to be uncertain about the future andContinue reading “The reality of the messy Nativity”

Music for Advent during a pandemic

Here we are. We’re in Advent … during a pandemic. Every year, holding out hope and waiting in the dark offers a profound spiritual power to me. During the darkest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, I am consoled by the candlelight while I prepare for Christmas and pray about opening my heartContinue reading “Music for Advent during a pandemic”

The Goodness of Gray, the Holy Innocents, and the Kairos (Time) of God

It’s a gray day, one of those types where the clouds hang heavy and seem to block out all sunlight. Inside a cozy lamp-lit room, I am sitting in a circle of ministers training to be spiritual directors and practicing the art of listening. Around the circle, person after person tells a story from theirContinue reading “The Goodness of Gray, the Holy Innocents, and the Kairos (Time) of God”

Light in the dark

In the Northern hemisphere, today is the shortest day of the year, the day when we experience the least sunlight. We’re still in the season of Advent, the season of longing and hope. Even if the preparations and Christmas celebrations of this season have had you feeling busy and stressed, you still have time toContinue reading “Light in the dark”

This Advent, may we make room

Months ago, while my mind and heart were whirling after moving from rural Wisconsin to Chicago, I attempted to run a simple and quick errand: buy some shampoo. Another sister went with me, and we carried along a short list of things we needed for our new household. At the store, we found little ofContinue reading “This Advent, may we make room”

Advent: watchfulness, waiting and wanting

In Psalm 130, we are taught to pray: “ I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.” When I pray this psalm, my imagination takes me to aContinue reading “Advent: watchfulness, waiting and wanting”

O Come Emmanuel: Free us prisoners

Sitting next to me in another hard, plastic chair is a good-hearted man wearing brightly colored scrubs — colors that label him as guilty of a crime. We’re in a florescent lit room inside the county jail: bare white walls and glass windows, a camera overhead. There are about a dozen of us in thisContinue reading “O Come Emmanuel: Free us prisoners”

Entry into Advent: the pacing of discovery

Psalm 80 is often read in churches all over the world during the Advent season. Throughout this psalm of yearning we pray, “restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.”   I live in a neighborhood that shares rhythms of prayer each day. We are aContinue reading “Entry into Advent: the pacing of discovery”

Most wonderful time of the year

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”   Except, for you, this holiday season is anything but. Maybe you are moving through the annual traditions for the first time without a loved one because of death or divorce. Maybe a job loss or economic hardship means buying gifts or booking travel is financially outContinue reading “Most wonderful time of the year”

Light of St. Lucy

I remember spending a lot of time picking out my new confirmation name. Among the saints, the holy men and women who have come before us to help intercede during our lifelong faith development, I was looking for someone a bit out of the ordinary. I had narrowed my choices down to two saints: oneContinue reading “Light of St. Lucy”