Monday, December 19, 2022
First of all, credit goes to my partner, Lori for the theme of today’s blog. Blessings was her sermon yesterday in the context of the Luke reading of Mary and her meeting with Elizabeth. Lori spoke about the gifts of blessings, one to another. I especially liked it when Lori said that sometimes just when we need to – a blessing welcomes us to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes. So, thank you, preacher for bringing this image to the forefront for our wondering and wandering today.
Blessings are all around us in this season of Advent. Maybe I’m just hearing them more clearly in these days. Here we are less than a week before Christmas Day and we seem to be, so many of us in so many different places. Some of us are wrapping up gifts and skipping down sidewalks and whistling our way in and through one day into another. Some of us are on autopilot trying to remember where we last saw our keys. And many of us are somewhere in-between. Blessings to all of us and for this moment of this day, wherever we are on the journey.
My friend, Jan has such a beautiful gift of offering us blessings. Words for holding on and for letting go. Words for beginning and ending and beginning again. In her Advent Retreat this year she shared this most remarkable gift:
What I know is that anything we get to keep has everything
to do with love. This season is stubborn in how deeply it wants
us to know this: that amid what is temporary, love persists;
it finds us again and again. It is what connects us to each other,
calling us to recognize and respond to that connection and to keep
turning in wonder toward the complicated world. (Jan L. Richardson,
from “The Repair of Wonder”)
Each time I read this, I am reminded of faith enough, and hope enough. Each time, in this blessing Jan reminds us, proclaims to us and insists on our behalf that `love persists and will find us again and again.’ Thank you, Jan, for these precious and gracious words as we are living through these growing darker days.
Blessings can be used to wish us well. `God-bless-you’ took on a deeper, more powerful meaning when I would sneeze during those darker COVID days. Remember? Not so long ago, when we weren’t sure which way was up, this blessing of just three words was an affirmation that offered light to me in what felt like too much darkness. `God bless you’ felt like an acknowledgement. It was a voice of another saying, `I see you,’ or `you are still here with us.’ `May God be with you and whatever brought that sneeze,’ resonated so deeply within.
There are blessings that serve as benedictions for one another. They can be used when a time together has ended, and each is going on her own way. “God be with you,” or “take good care,” can serve as a way of making holy the leave-taking. These blessings have often reminded me of a greater presence in our midst, and that in our leaving each other, no one went on alone.
And then there is bless your heart. In the South this phrase can mean different things. Every now and then it can mean different things at the same time. For this day, for these words, bless your heart is being said in its most genuine and loving way. In these words, dwells a blessing from me for the best of things for you, today and in the days to come.
May God bless you and keep you; may God's face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may God look upon you with kindness and bring you peace. Amen.