Wednesday, Fourth Week in Advent

by Matthew B. Harper

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Luke 1:46-47)

In any household with children Christmas morning comes as a wonderful love filled chaos. There are cries of delight and joy, piles of wrapping paper, and new toys and clothes strewn about everywhere. The rest of the joyous day is often barely controlled chaos as the kids put on new clothes, and are then constantly underfoot with their new toys. Fingers are sticky with special foods, and there is tinsel and ribbons to endlessly clean up.

But then, after hours of chaos, quiet begins to come. Family members sated on rich food find a comfortable place to sit, and those children that have been a source of wonderful terror find a quiet place, on a warm lap, and rest. The gifts are put aside for a while, and the gift givers are loved and honored.

After all these years in prison I am not often very different. I look forward to Christmas when I often receive gifts of money to buy special books, magazine subscriptions, and CDs. I often love my ‘toys’ in here much more than I should. But the greatest time comes, and the greatest gift is, when friends and family come to visit. When they give of themselves to come through the barbed wire, and behind the fences, to sit and be with me.

In all the gifts that God has given us, I do not believe there is any greater divine longing than for those quiet moments together. That quiet time when we put aside all the trappings of creation, and simply sit and dwell with the creator. When we put aside our toys, and sit upon the lap of our heavenly parent.

O come, the key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home; make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path of misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! (Hymn 56)

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