Monday, December 24, 2012

Expectant in Bethlehem: Christmas Eve

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

(from The Hymnal 1982, hymn 56)

The house is quiet. And full. Everyone is reading. One on the couch, one in the coveted comfy chair, one on the stairs, one in her room, another somewhere else. The contentment of solitary pursuit settles over the house like a favorite quilt.

There is a difference between enjoying alone time and being lonely. I remember feeling completely alone once in the midst of a group of close friends. Their laughter surrounded me, yet I was exiled from it. I don’t remember why. I don’t know what interior or exterior drama left me in that barren space. But the ache was familiar.

Ordinary and extraordinary incidents can hold us captive, can push us into the isolation of disconnection. We encounter personal demons and real life tragedy. We are brought to our knees by the aching absence of one we cherish. Or sometimes we just feel left out, or left behind, or out of sync with the world around us.

Yet I also know the quiet and the solitude to overflow with grace. To contain moments in which I let go of all pretense and find myself immersed in the flow of creation. To offer the pleasure of serenity. To be a place of meeting, where I encounter my savior and know myself beloved.

I welcome this day’s quiet, which heralds the end of one path of waiting and the beginning of new expectation.

O come Emmanuel! Come God with us! Restore us and remind us once again that there is no landscape bereft of your love.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2012