Reflection for Tuesday, December 27, 2005: Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist.

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Howard, Joan Blandin
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The Best Gifts Capture the Imagination*|We have journeyed through the promises, messages, hopes, joys, anticipations and expectations of the Advent season as presented in scripture. Unique journeys - unique to me and to my time in life.|I don't know about you, but I often get tangled in the words. We are encouraged to get to 'know' God on a 'deeper' level, to be more 'intimate.' How is this possible? I get so tangled, that I often end up with a severe and immobilizing case of the 'shoulds.' As if there is anything that I can 'do' to accomplish all these godly and spiritual movements. I should be doing thus and such or not doing this and that _ all as if I were in control of the situation. What I come to so often and why I don't remember this at the onset of the 'shoulds' is that they don't bring me any closer to knowing God, if anything I know less. But, the goodnews is what happens so often _ I experience God when and where I least expect! In the experience itself I am gently swaddled a bit closer to the mystery that is God and maybe know a bit more about me, as I am in God's experience of me. More often than not, it is in hindsight that I come to this awareness. Here I am struggling with the shoulds and there God is delighting in me _ not that I am struggling for struggling sake, but that my desire is sincere and true and hopeful.|I would like to share my Advent experience with you. Early November I sent my 89 year old mother a planter of 3 amaryllis bulbs and ordered one for our home. I knew she would enjoy the large fast growing colorful plant and I, too, anticipated the Christmas color. What I did not foresee was how these plants would deepen our relationship and be a living symbol of the Advent Season. From the very first days when the plants were hardly visible above the soil, my mother began keeping track of their growth _ height, number of leaves, when the bud stalks began to appear, initial indication of color, and finally the number and hue of the glorious blossoms. Two or three times a week she would send me a postcard with the progress noted in inches, color, number _ all the pertinent statistics. In return I would do the same noting the growth, development and promise of my plant. It was not in any way a competition, but a shared experience in the joy, hope, growth, beauty and sheer delight not only of the plant, but in each other. In commenting on the joy, she said, "This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys!" Talk about capturing the imagination! Capturing the Imagination. Isn't that the core of scripture, to capture our imaginations and stimulate our hearts to experience and remember that God delights in delighting us _ God's desire is to comfort in the midst of sorrow and suffering, to laugh with the hale and hearty, sing with the vibrant, bring peace to the restless and friendship to the lonely. Like Peter, it is in life's daily happenings that I experience God as God chooses to enter my life.|The scripture readings of the Advent season capture our imaginations in a way that allows them to be read anew each season. And to keep on giving throughout the liturgical year. The best gift captures caption P.S. With six days to go until Christmas, our Amaryllis plants are 18" tall, each with 2 healthy, thick bud stalks. Mine has 5 blossoms; 3 white and 2 deep red, and signs of more to come. My mother's has about the same but all rich Christmas red. We each have at least a dozen postcards from the other! The joy has been unexpected and priceless!
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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