At our Thanksgiving table I recited The Gift, by Mary Oliver:
Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.
So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful. That the gift has been given.
The gift has been given to all of us, in varying measure. For some of us it is wealth, others health, others beauty, others service, all of us love. Even alone love was given, if not to you, then by you. You might not have noticed it but love played its part. Love still plays, even if to a seemingly empty house.
As we enter this season of Advent, I commend gift-giving as a spiritual, even saintly, practice. Not just material gifts; gifts of time and love can be just as fulfilling. We await our lives still unfolding and in the waiting let us give a gift of time and presence.
We are all so worried about what the future brings. The new Omicron variant is the latest in a long line of worries. While we care for one another and ourselves as best we can, let us also show compassion to those in need: this is what saints like us do. Our gifts have been given. Now is the time to pass them on.
Today is “Giving Tuesday.” Please make a gift to that organization that is busy with the business of giving love and helping those in need. Perhaps this congregation is on that list. If so, consider a gift to our Holiday Appeal, an opportunity to help us reach others in need. (check, VENMO or vop.tucw.org with “holiday appeal” in memo line.)
My spiritual director once told me that each of us has everything we need to become accidental saints. If your heart is open, Christmas will come. As Naida Bolz-Weber puts it: “The holy things we need for healing and sustenance are almost always the same as the ordinary things right in front of us.” (Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People)
Yours Always, Rev. John