The Manger is Empty

It’s the Eve of the birth of Our Lord.  The manger is waiting, somewhere in time, to welcome Him, the Word Made Flesh.  He comes to the world in the form of humanity, to take on humanity; to take on all that is human, yet still remain divine. He gives us, as a gift, all of Him.

But what does He ask in return?

He wants all of us.  He wants us to fill the manger before He comes, so He can dwell with us and our humanity.

Take some time today and give Him all of you; all of your fears. loves, desires, sufferings and concerns.  Place them in the manger.  And when He comes, at midnight, at that timeless, glorious moment, He will take onto Himself all that you are, all that you have.

He will carry your burdens as He grows, and they will be with Him on that excruciating walk to Calvary.  It is why He comes to us, to bear our burdens, because we cannot possibly bear them alone.

Close your eyes and go to the cave in Bethlehem, where a young virgin is waiting and making preparations.  Do you see the manger?  It’s empty, save for a bit of straw.  Go and kneel before it and unburden yourself.  Fill the cradle with everything that is in your heart:

“I’m afraid my husband will leave me.”

“My children are keeping company with the wrong people.”Empty_Manger

“My mother is dying and I don’t know how to live without her.”

“I’m next in the round of layoffs.”

“I have deep wounds from verbal/physical/sexual abuse.”

“Why, why am I unable to have a baby?”

“My wife doesn’t love me anymore.”

“I’m worried we can’t pay the bills.”

“I give you my motherhood/fatherhood, my vocation as a wife/husband, my work, my talents, my faults, my sadness, my joy, my worries and my temporal needs…I GIVE YOU ALL OF ME.”

Why do you think He came to Bethlehem–the City of Bread–and was gently laid in a manger; the place where animals feed?  In the humble circumstances surrounding His birth, He shows us that He loves us SO much, that He literally wants to share all of Himself with us, in the form of food. (See John 6: 35-58)

He asks no less of us.  He gives us all of Himself and He wants all from us.

So, this night, take a break from the busyness of the holidays and quiet yourself.  Then visit the manger and fill it to overflowing.




7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 1

TARDIS cake  NYE 2012

Happy New Year!  I’ve finally gotten on the ball and thrown in with the 7 Quick Takes crowd.  Here we go:

1. Christmas Eve was…interesting this (oops, last!) year.  The tree fell down, the shrimp fell into the garbage pail and I forgot to make the clams.  Oh, well.  We’ll laugh about it next Christmas when we’re reminiscing.  We washed the shrimp and cooked it anyway.  Don’t judge me…

2. The kids always plan our New Years Eve menu and this year, in Whovian tradition, they asked for fish fingers and custard, with a TARDIS cake for dessert.  I want to go down in history as a cool Mom (or maybe even a Time Lord), so I complied.   I’m no Cake Boss, but they were happy with the results.

3. For those of you who watch the Reality TV show, Minor Revisions, you may have heard that it’s star, Jennifer Fulwiler, who is pregnant, had been hospitalized with pulmonary embolisms.  Please say a prayer for her and her child for a quick and complete recovery.

4. I’ve been making playlists on Spotify that my whole family can listen to.  While compiling a list of favorite songs from the 1980s, I realized that most of the music I fed my brain for a whole decade was completely inappropriate.  Luckily, I was able to find about two hours worth of music that we can listen to together.  And, I got my kids to learn the Safety Dance.  Cool!

5. I received an e-mail from a gentleman, who wrote that Angela’s Song answered all his questions as to how he could improve his marriage.  Applause for the Holy Spirit!  It is my prayer that my novel will bring healing to its readers and their marriages.

6. My parish has a huge wreath hanging from the ceiling with large lengths of fabric hanging down from it.  All during Advent, I contemplated how this beautiful fragrant green wreath foreshadows the Crown of Thorns Christ wears during His Passion and the fabric predicts the shroud that wrapped His broken body.  The liturgical seasons flow, one into another, and we are always learning, meditating, contemplating and growing in our faith.

7. I’m about 11,000 words away from being done with my next novel.  It takes place at the same parish–Our Lady of the Angels– but with a different female protagonist.  Fr. Sean and a couple of the regulars do make an appearance.  I’m eager to get the manuscript to my edito.  Now…to find the time.  Too bad I don’t know the Doctor.  I’d ask him to take me away in the TARDIS to a quiet place where I could write; then when I returned, no time will have passed.  I wonder if he could make it so the laundry would be done, too?