The Gospel readings over Christmas we know so well, are rich and fruitful with much food for our contemplative prayer.

Looking back: Christmas

Perhaps the donkey knew he carried the Life of the world to Bethlehem…maybe all the animals knew, followed, prepared the manger….

An ancient legend tells us that at the stroke of midnight at Christmas all the animals kneel. The animals know…they can teach us.

Perhaps we need to rely more on our intuitive nature to know that just like the Child, Jesus, we too are wrapped in swaddling clothes (beloved) gentlyput in the place where the Spirit can moves us to be bread for the world….if we are aware…

How does one become “bread?” Does one allow oneself to be “chewed up,”swallowed, transformed? What does it mean to be loved…the pain and the extasy of living deeper realities.


This Child is rejected by his own ancestorial home even before his birth… The wise men are on a strange journey, following a light… Herod, gives in to his fear, so the power of darkness, of greed and power enter the scene. We learn of his deceit and lies to wise men who should have known better then to believe him….Joseph, the Child’s father, protector, again listens to a deeper consciousness….Following the light, the three kings take another path to save hidden knowledge of this Child. Joseph and Mary make haste to travel to Egypt as precious little boys are slaughtered. This innocent Child will also be slaughtered at a much later time when he hands over his life on the cross, again rejected by religious leaders, his own people, and Rome.

The struggle of light overcoming the darkness is an icon of the Paschal Mystery….the Child was not exempt…from this evolutionary pattern…

How many times do I walk through the fear…take the risk?

How often can I take another path, go a different way, enter into the unexpected? How can I try an alternative, a new consciousness, awareness? The fearful and unaware miss the reality pattern, the deep down excitement of overcoming the darkness in the power of Spirit…we are always ledthrough darkness to light…there is no way around it.

Baptism of Jesus

Water….a dove….the Voice….beloved…

The time is ripe so Jesus goes down into the Jordan, down into darkness, to rise to the full awareness that he has identity and mission….the Child of God will heal and teach….most of all he will do what Joseph taught him as a carpenter – to take pieces of wood….even broken pieces, to create newness, wholeness, beauty….Jesus walked into shattered, devastated, crushed, cracked, smashed, fragmented, helpless, even dead lives and healed, restored, repaired, re-created, made whole again the lives of those who are suffering….he never walked around the darkness.

How can I make whole again that which is broken?

The dove, symbol of love in the Mediterranean world hovers over Jesus…

In the Hebrew Scriptures the flood waters cover the earth…Moses let the dove free to discover if land and life were to be continued…

Am I dove? Do I ever risk leaving the ark, the place of safety? Can I discover new life, a new way, an unexpected risk, land?

The voice – “beloved Son” is again the identity of the Child in the manger, swaddled and protected…Can I rest in this great love affair with the mystery of Spirit…this communion with the deeper reality of all that is?

Lord give us the gift of boundless trust in you.

Just pondering the richness of Christmas past,

Sister Mary Joan Grisez