By Florence, SSJD Companion.
Christmas 2019 came and went very quickly. It was not just another Christmas. It was different for me, because I spent it in the SSJD convent. I was hoping it to be calm, peaceful and silent. How wrong I was! The convent was full of people and activities during Christmas time. I took part in some of the activities and met some of the people who came for the Christmas and New Year retreats. I’ve never spent Christmas with so many people before. We enjoyed decorating the convent, ate delicious festive food, sang Christmas carols, celebrated the Advent and Christmas services, and shared many nice moments with one another. This is a season full of colours and joyful noise. But my attention was caught by the Wise Men, who were quietly making their way to find Jesus. At the convent, three Wise Men figurines were placed in the hall way, far away from the manger in the lobby.
The way to meet Jesus is a long one. The Wise Men left their homes and families, and put their tasks and lives on hold to make a journey to pay homage to an unknown baby. Drawn by the light of the star, the Wise Men took a bold step. To join the companions program is a bold step for me. I left home and a familiar and comfortable life to live in a very different environment with a very different group of people. Like the Wise Men, I follow the star, trusting that it leads me to Jesus. The Wise Men were filled with joy when they found Jesus, and I am also joyful as I travel on this ancient path. The Wise Men might not have known what they expected to find when they followed the star. They could have been surprised to see the humble birthplace of Christ or the ordinary family he was born into. I am learning from the Wise Men to have faith and trust that this journey will lead me onto a new path…perhaps to something that I am not expecting, to embark on a new beginning. A star is beckoning me somewhere. I am listening to the gentle inner urge, asking God to help me to recognize the star in my life. Fear of the unknown is human nature. I set out on this adventure despite my fear because I know the Lord is my shepherd; I am not alone on this journey.
I particularly enjoyed the first few days of 2020. The silence and stillness in the convent in contrast with the bustling celebrations of the previous week birthed reflection in me. Is there anything holding me back from my star? My desire for security? My comfort? My fear? Where does my true joy lie? What is most life-giving for me? In a dream, the Wise Men were instructed to return home via a new path, and they followed the advice. I am listening to my dream’s directions.