It all began quite spontaneously, unintentionally. One of those things that settle on you like a gentle night or a soft dew. Peace. Possibility.
We sit there a long while, holding hands, our fingers curled together protectively, vulnerably. Understanding communicated through simple gestures. I look at her and ask Jesus: “Jesus, will you show me how you are in this my sister, my sister waiting for you to come.”
In the evening I discover her waiting quietly, as the nurse prepares her supper. She is alone. I slip into a chair beside her and reach quietly for her hand. She says something I can’t understand, but I know she is speaking to me.
“Jesus, how are you within my sister, my sister who is waiting for you to come?”
I close my eyes and wait for Jesus to guide me to whatever he wishes me to see. I sense a brilliance, a happiness. The joy of God who is putting the finishing touches on a brilliant gem that gives him immense pleasure.
When I’m in a hurry, too busy to sit for 30 minutes to hold Sister’s hand while she eats, I can’t see HIS face. When I’m too efficient to notice someone who can’t follow my train of thought, too important to do the little services or hear the whispered secrets, I miss HIS eyes.
In these days we are preparing for the celebration of Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing Jesus in nativity sets and Christmas movies and in Christmas liturgies, and all this is good. But let us not miss HIM where he is now, still in the Bethlehem of our lives, in the poverty of our need, for after all that is what Jesus took on himself when he came to earth.
Jesus has come, and he has stayed. He is here and his face is wherever there is human sorrow and joy. See him, and Christmas is every day.
My heart cries out with the ancient words of Scripture:
“Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”
O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse your power.
Give us new life, and we will call upon your name. (Ps 80: 2-3, 19)
By Sr. Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP