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”

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”

Poetry: How do words become flesh?

How do you pray? Do you pray with hands folded? Do you air out your words on the line? Do you clip them down one by one, and then let them dance in the breeze until they smell fresher, lighter? Do you tell yourself stories of meaning and mystery? Do you let the metaphors danceContinue reading “Poetry: How do words become flesh?”

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”

We need each other, not more consumption

Every year around this time, companies ramp up marketing campaigns that do their best to connect contentment with consumerism. Feeling lonely? Buy a candy cane latte. Feeling grief? Buy more holiday decorations. Feeling afraid and anxious as you watch the daily news in a world plagued by family separations, endless wars and mass shootings? BuyContinue reading “We need each other, not more consumption”

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”

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”

Merry Christmas: the story in the world’s heart

Re-blogged from December 24, 2015. The Holy Family in a creche scene in Greccio, Italy, 2014. Photo by Julia Walsh FSPA There is an ancient story that is our common heartbeat. It speaks to us, deeply, quietly and simply; its whispers are heard in the rhythms of our ordinary lives, in between the rushing activityContinue reading “Merry Christmas: the story in the world’s heart”

Thanks for giving, not shopping

Happy Thanksgiving! During this time when we pause to give thanks in the USA, I take this Scripture seriously: In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. –1 Thessalonians 5:18 But, the truth is, gratitude is only some of what is stirring in my heart. IContinue reading “Thanks for giving, not shopping”