So, what exactly happened at Midnight Mass tonight? I've been totally looking forward to the moment since Advent started. I've been staying faithful to the morning hours (an Advent promise I made) and I stuck with an Advent Calendar and Jesse Tree with my fourth graders. (It's completely awesome to learn about the Old Testament super heroes!)
So, I spent my Advent preparing my heart to welcome Jesus and I was going to go to Midnight Mass tonight and KNOW Jesus. I would understand deeper the Mystery of His coming, see something comparable to Mary's joy and awe and it was going to be this awesome spiritual experience.
Then, reality happened. I was completely distracted by stupid and interesting things...it was too hot in church, someone kept passing gas (seriously) There was a girl two rows in front of me that looks exactly like a girl who I'm seeking reconciliation with... Despite trying to focus my mind on this abstract "Christmas tingle," I couldn't stop thinking about struggles and challenges: friends who I won't be with this Christmas and I miss terribly, Christians who are persecuted in other countries, the homeless, and those I served in Haiti and how they won't have the fancy dinners, the gifts, etc.
Despite what I might have imagined for myself (tears, being so moved in front of the glory of Christ's birth, peaceful radiance, etc) I received something so much more real and perfect from God at Midnight Mass.
As I sang "Joy to the World"...this is what Jesus' birth was...joy for the WHOLE world. The people in Haiti, the homeless, my friends who have denied religion, the guy farting in the pew in front of me. (haha. sorry.)
My life has been a journey of discovering if Jesus being on Earth REALLY makes a difference or not. Does He bring light and meaning to our heart's desire or not? If nothing else, I left Mass today renewed to serve my neighbor (local and worldwide) and share fearlessly the worth of following this Jesus character because only He will give true fulfillment and peace.
I'm not sure exactly how this will all pan out---I mean, persecuted Christians...how am I going to help them??? But I KNOW that through my continued daily "yes" I, just like Mary, will be able to respond to whatever He needs from me and in that, can change the world!
Oh Mary, on this day of the feast of the birth of your Son, may I be filled with the wonder and awe of God-made flesh for me. May my heart be filled with gratitude and confidence in in my Father's love that can never end. Pray for me, Mary, and gaze on those whom I love, especially those who I cannot physically spend today with, those who cannot glorify your Son publicly, those who are hungry today, and those who suffer from despair, boredom, or addiction. On this Christmas day, may they be given some comfort that only our Father can give. Thank you, Mary for your fearless 'yes' that changed the world and saved my life. Amen.
Merry Christmas to my Grandpa and Grandma Kersey! Missing you most of all!