Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas in Community, Part II

By Sr. Tracy Kemme

Late night prayer time
with Millie
'Twas the night before Christmas [Eve], and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...except for myself and Millie the cat.

I had just finished wrapping a few gifts, and as I gathered up the scraps and the tape, I was taken by the peace and silence of the room that is so often filled with conversation and laughter.  I looked at the lovely Nativity scene and the lights, and I smiled.  I felt like God was inviting me:  Just sit down for awhile.

I climbed into the chair facing the Christmas tree and took a breath.  Millie even scurried up my legs and settled into my lap.

African Nativity set
in our living room
Gratitude flooded my heart as I basked in the quiet night.  I thought about the family and friends for whom I had just wrapped gifts.  I thought about the way our house community had celebrated Christmas and Advent together.  I thought of my recent visit to the formation house in New Mexico where I had lived for three years.  I thought about the congregational, family, and friend gatherings to come over the next days.

It has been a bustling time, but a prayerful time imbued with wonder.

Becoming part of the Sisters of Charity family has deepened my experience of these seasons.  What a gift it is to pray daily with my community, feeling together the movement of the liturgical year.  What a blessing it's been to gather with my Sisters around the table of the Eucharist as we yearn for the One to Whom we've given our lives.  In my short time as a sister, I've been introduced to new insights, new ways to pray, and new traditions that compliment the treasured ones with which I've grown up.  All of it expands my heart.
Clowning around with my fellow novice as we make Christmas gifts

Celebrating with the children at Proyecto Santo Nino during my NM visit

Andrea and I at the Motherhouse Christmas Eve Mass, 2013

Nativity on the Motherhouse grounds on a snowy night

Caroling at our nursing home, Mother Margaret Hall
The SC Chime Choir performs in our beautiful chapel.  Some of these musicians are in their 90's.  Go, girls!

Being part of a religious community has made my life fuller and richer, and I recognize it more at this special time of year. 

"Thank you," is the only prayer I could offer as I sat, gazing at the tree.  I didn't try to say anything else.  I just savored the stillness in this threshold moment of Advent giving way to Christmas...

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