When I was a girl, my grandmother lived for a time in Denver. One sharply bitter Christmas Eve, she took us downtown to see the animated shop displays, where dolls moved and the Nutcracker bent and lights glittered. It was unbearably cold, the night air needles on our cheeks, but my soul was enchanted.
I remain enchanted by Christmas Eve. Here in our Western tradition, this is a most sacred of nights. Stars shining in a black winter sky. Blazes of excess on suburban rooftops. Lights twinkling on trees and along the rafters and around the windows of the shops. It is the one night that we are still allowed to invest with purest wonder and possibility, when even the most cynical among us are wont to look at the sky and wonder….what if? What if that was the echo of a ho, ho, ho? What if those sleighbells really did ring? What if, long long ago, wise men traversed the desert bearing precious offerings, and angels sang in the heavens to herald the birth of a king?
And if those things might happen, what might happen in our own lives? One of the most powerful aspects of the Christmas story is the humble images—the simple people bearing a son far from home. A sleeping baby, oblivious to the fuss of trumpets and magi bearing sweet-smelling gifts, a mother humming a lullaby.
So much potential!
Christmas Eve bursts with that potential for each of us. Each of us are born with a vocation, a calling, something we are meant to do. I believe that if each human finds that task and aligns with it, the world, then, becomes a peaceful, productive place.
By “vocation” I don’t mean some Big Dramatic Task You Must Do To Single-Handedly Save The World. Quite the opposite. [Read more…]