In these 12 days of Christmas, I have felt very much like the Little Drummer Boy, singing, “I have no gifts to bring…” or Christina Rossetti in the carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” “What can I bring him, poor as I am…?” We are heading toward Epiphany where the Wise Ones bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts both mystical and practical, elegant and marvelous. And I feel as if my cupboard is bare after this season of healing and world trauma. However, in the way that the Spirit seems to work with me, I keep encountering at every turn this finale of the Love Hymn in I Corinthians, King James Version: “And now abideth these three–faith, hope and love…” And I am delighted–in spite of my recovering health, in spite of the losses in the past year, in spite of the predictions and prognostications about the state of the world and what will happen next, I do have those three things; they abide–in me and in the world.
I continue to have Faith. I experienced Holy Presence all through my surgical process and the aftermath, in each step of recovery and setback, even or especially in faith-filled folk who come by me, in person or on-line. I can wear with integrity my ring that holds Lady Julian close to my heart, saying, All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.
I have Hope, on which I mused in during Advent, not in particular outcomes or even in absence of chaos and terror, but in that Holy Presence who never leaves us or forsakes us, and whom the author of Hebrews tells us, often has a better idea for our future than we can imagine, ask or think.
And I have Love. I have been given so much love in my life–some of it well-intentioned but poorly executed, some of it unable to show up all the time, some of it intuitive and caring from afar–but I am loved, not the least of all by the One who calls me by name, and to Whom I belong. And Love begets Love; out of the love I have been given, I am free to love those I am given–longtime friends falling on hard times, new friends who need some ballast, those who are nearly ever noticed by those they serve, those who seem to be difficult by character–learning how to pray that they will be blessed and have their deepest needs satisfied.
So on this Epiphany I come to the Holy One bringing my gifts, maybe more truly giving back what I have been given–Faith, Hope and Love–with the prayer that they will deployed in the places most useful, healing the places most sore, and giving Life and Love to a world which seems to have a short supply of any of them. I pray that these gifts will enrich us all in the world that God loves!