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The Third Sunday of Advent—A Reflection

December 10, 2022
Communion Table—Outdoor Chapel—Beckwith Episcopal Camp and Conference Center

We are midway through Advent and Christmas will soon be upon us. It will have been a year on December 26th that I tested positive for COVID and began a year of challenges and struggles that I still find myself dealing with on a regular basis. I have been feeling worn down and worn out as a result of all that has gone on in the past twelve months.

Finding the energy or the inspiration to write/blog on a regular basis has been challenging. Today, Denise and I attended a midday Zoom class through the Abbey of the Arts that was led by Sophfronia Scott who is the author of a wonderful book entitled, The Seeker and the Monk. The title of her presentation was “Thomas Merton and the Transformative Power of Love.” Sophfronia’s presentation was an opportunity for me to do some reflecting during this season in my life.

One of the Merton quotes she shared came from his autobiographical novel My Argument with the Gestapo. If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing that I want to live for.

If you want to identify me… I think about the identities that I have had through the years. Chaplain, Pastor, Reverend, Rev, Padre, Mike, Michael, Mikey… who am I? The first four names are titles describing what my profession has been for the past thirty-five plus years of ministry. The last three are more personal with each one having its own specific story. Within them is contained part of my identity.

Tomorrow the scripture reading that I will focus on for my meditation during the Christmas program at church is Luke 1:46b-55. The reading is the song of Mary which is traditionally called The Magnificat. She offered this powerful song in response to the incredible news that she would become pregnant via the Holy Spirit and that she would name him Jesus. All of a sudden, her world had been turned upside down. Her identity would no longer be Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter. She would be known as the mother of the son of God! Even in the midst of all that, Mary never lost her identity as Mary, beloved child of God.

I am Michael, beloved child of God. You, dear reader, are a beloved child of God. In the midst of the chaos of life and the challenges life throws our way, we can be sure of that one fact. We are beloved children of God and I am thankful for your companionship on this journey.

  1. Hugh Hamilton permalink

    Your meditations continue to enrich me, Michael. Thank you for sharing your heart, soul, and mind with us. Blessings to you, my friend, Child of God! Merry Christmas to you and Denise. Hugh

  2. pynkoski2 permalink

    Michael, are you familiar with Levertov’s poem, Annunciation? If not, I will send it to you. Too late for the liturgy, but worthy of reflection.

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