Friday, December 2, 2011

Plate of Joy

First Friday of Advent

Come before the Lord, singing for joy.

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth
       and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his.
   -- his people, the sheep of his flock.

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
      fill his courtyards with songs,
proclaim him and bless his name.
      for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
      His faithfulness through all the ages.

                                            Psalm 99,100

The red Tanager bird plate that hangs on my kitchen wall is a gift every day.  My little ten-year-old daughter bought it for me when she was at our village Street Fair.  She only had eight dollars to spend and wanted to get a feather braided into her hair for “forever!”  and now she finally had the money saved to buy one at their booth.  She and her little friends were milling about and went into a local antique store to look at all the stuff when she saw the plate and purchased it.  Afterwards, she stood in line while all her friends got feathers put in their hair and she didn’t have the money to get one. When I met up with her she was so excited as she held the bag behind her back and said,  “I have a present for you Mom!  Her eyes like a thousand blended leaves with the sun shining through.  “Oh,” I said. “You do?”  She handed me the re-used grocery bag and inside, wrapped in a copy of the local newspaper, was an old porcelain plate with a red Tanager on it. “For Me!”  “Yes Mom I saw it and knew you would love it.  You love the birds so much!”  “But now you don’t have money for your feather.”  “That’s ok Mom.  I would rather you have the bird.” 

How much the Lord of the Universe stoops down to love us where we are and how He must love when we give all of ourselves, when we imitate in much lesser brightness His luminosity of giving all on the Cross. Learning these embraces of our Lord’s love, I bend to wrap my arms around a child who gave all she had to bring joy to another.  Oh, she sees the way of Jesus, Saints and Mystics at the deepest level of reality and puts her heart into practice!  Unless we become like these little children….

I will always share, in the nest of my heart, a red Tanager taking flight in joy:  a tiny porcelain bird given from the huge heart of a little child.

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