"Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Lk 2:18Contemplation is a gift that allows us, like Mary, to ponder, to sift through, to accept everything that comes to us. For Mary, who was a very young woman when she first heard that she would be the mother of the Messiah, is was a necessity. Without a commitment to quiet prayer and reflection, without the ability to live with ambiguity, without the willingness to let go of certainty, Mary would not have been able to hear the angel's request of her.
For many Christmas is not an easy, gentle family time. For some excessive drinking will blot out the joy. For others, finding a way to meld multiple families after a divorce will prove impossible, and when faced with the pain of shattered hopes Christmas often descends into loud arguments and further hurt. Mary's ability at Cana to act on behalf of the beleaguered couple who were running our of wine despite Jesus' reluctance to help is a reminder to us that a quiet response, rooted in contemplation, is always more effective that a prolonged debate.
Christmas is intended as a time of overwhelming joy for all, but when the joy seems shallow, do not despair. Remember Mary's willingness to move ahead with silent conviction. Mary does the right thing. So can we.
Today, take time, don't rush, pray to hear the "stream beneath the stream.
What will it take for you to have a contemplative Christmas?