My prayer life over the past months has been spotty. Okay, it's been non-existent, unless you count desperate "Oh, Gods" muttered in pain in the emergency department. Which I don't.
I have been trying to pray more. Thankfully, Mother Church, in her wisdom, gives us formal prayers throughout the day so that we are not left to our own devices. Today, I began my day with morning prayer, but I quickly derailed, which is a common problem when you're trying to make prayer a habit. This morning, the very first thing I prayed was: To Christ our newborn King let us sing a song of rejoicing, alleluia!
And that did it. I was off in the weeds.
Rejoicing? I thought. Were all the visitors to the manger rejoicing? I bet they weren't. It's not like they all knew exactly what was happening and could see with perfectly clarity how Christ's birth would not only affect current events but historical and future events as well.
I'm betting the shepherds did not whip out a flute made expressly for this purpose, start playing "The Sound Of Music" and join up with the Little Drummer Boy for a perfectly played piece. Nope, I'm betting that, even with the angel's explanations, they were all a bit overwhelmed. Bewildered, even.
The Wise Men weren't even Jewish. They left everything they knew to FOLLOW A STAR. That's a little nutty. And they finished their trip under what was tantamount to a death threat. Rejoicing? Maybe they were rejoicing, but they were doing it very, very quietly.
And then there is me. It's been a tough year to rejoice. I haven't been able to go to Mass for a few weeks due to health reasons. Trust me, it is tough to rejoice at home, in your living room when you really, really want to be at Mass. And those health reasons keep getting more and more severe, making rejoicing more and more difficult.
This year, I'm gonna hang out in the corner of the manger, next to the sheep who seem a bit out of sorts having so many people in their barn. I'll talk to the Drummer Boy, who is happy to be here, even if he isn't exactly sure why - he knows that Baby isn't an ordinary Baby. And the Shepherds - all they can talk about is the Messiah. Could it be possible that the Promised One could be an infant?
It's been a bewildering year, a bewildering Christmas. I'm still off here in the weeds, trying to find my way back home. The thing to do is to follow the song of rejoicing, even if it seems a bit bewildering. Just follow the sounds of rejoicing.