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So what has changed because of our momentary pause for Christmas? I ask myself that question, fully aware that we are still in the midst of a pandemic that is taking so many of our loved ones from us, a political situation that crawls more slowly toward an end than we have ever known, and an economy that threatens our lifestyles in more ways than we care to discuss. Yet as I sit here typing away, the sun continues to play on my words, playing peekaboo with the clouds, to remind me, I think, that all is not lost and Christmas really did mean something this year.

The conclusion that I have come to after diving into today’s lectionary readings which are full of murder and mayhem (on this feast of St. Stephen) is that life goes on as it should, teaching us again that God is not absent and we are inching toward understanding bit by bit. Christmas provided a pause that we needed, to help us remember God’s willingness to remain with us and calling us to “stay the course” until things right themselves again. We are being shaken into our role in that awakening, I think, and yesterday provided a “rest stop” for us to re-group for the next part of the challenge.

You may disagree with me on these images of “what is” but I truly think we are called to learn by living — sometimes in trial and some in bliss. Bliss may be somewhat of an exaggeration but if we come to see life from the inside rather than being spectators, we may well be much better off when the challenges come. The long and the short of it is, I think, the role of perspective. How do you perceive expectations? How is life supposed to be? I am, I think, more peaceful today, even in the face of serious challenge, than I was on Wednesday, and I want to meet the day with affirmation.

May the sun continue to shine for you today!