Thursday, January 9, 2014

Devotion for today: Life is good

Psalm 27:4
 One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.

In my family we put up the Christmas decorations close to Christmas day, and take them down at the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is this coming Sunday. It is a practice that I really like, since the glow of Christmas lasts for me way past the Hallmark movies on TV and the rush of shopping, wrapping, writing, and baking. Now I can sit and peacefully gaze at the star on the tree and the baby Jesus in the manger. I can study the figures in my nativity set and the angels on my buffet and wonder about that blessed event so long ago. I don’t know about you, but I find such peace when my home is decorated and the only lights I have on are the little white ones in the tree and in the garland. I just can imagine being surrounded by the stars in the calm sky on Christmas night. No, I am not in any hurry to get it all down and get back to normal. I like bringing my troubles to the infant Jesus and laying them at his feet. I like looking at the Magi and identifying with them as they finally arrive at the Lord’s dwelling after an arduous journey with many twists and turns. I feel at peace with Mary and Joseph as the gaze upon their newborn son in wonder and awe.

I feel the same way in church. I like to arrive about a half an hour early for daily Mass. The church is sparsely populated at this time, and it is very peaceful and quiet. The lights are still dimmed and the sanctuary candle standing vigilantly next to the tabernacle serves to draw my attention to the host for this day’s meal. I always begin my holy half-hour by thanking God for inviting me into His home for this banquet, for surrounding me with the people who love Him so much, for giving me the opportunity to partake of the only food I will ever really need in life. I rest in His presence and allow my thoughts, worries and prayers float like incense to His altar on high.

I know, too, that the people who surround me in my quiet church and in my hectic life are also the means by which I can gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. He is present to me in them, hard as it may sometimes be to believe,  just as He was present to the shepherds and wise men in the form of a helpless baby, hard as that was for them to believe.

One thing I truly ask of the Lord, and this is truly what I seek, to live every day of my life in such a way that I can spend eternity in His presence.  One thing for which I am constantly thankful is the gift from the Lord of Himself in the Eucharist, present and available to me every day of my life. Yes, I love to dwell in the house of the Lord here on earth, and to imagine an after-life in His heavenly temple.

The decorations will come down next Monday and my home will become normal once again. But for now, I think I will pour myself a cup of hot cocoa, play some Christmas Carols, not holiday tunes, and visit with the holy family for a few more days. Ahhh, life is good.

One Thing I Ask, performed by Vineyard:

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