The Faces at the Manger

Advent Reflection, Sunday, December 10, 2017

By: Anne McCoy

Of all the seasons of the Church, Advent is my favorite. While it is such a busy time of year with events, parties, shopping and decorating, there is in the midst of it all a contemplative anticipation of the personal meaning of the birth of Jesus. After all, it must have been pretty hectic in that stable, too!

I have been a member of St. Mary’s all of my 38 years. The traditions of this beautiful place fill my soul. Growing up, our family had our own Christmas traditions that I also hold dear, and I am lucky to share many of them with Eleanor and Harry – an Advent calendar made by my mom, our yearly visit to Santa, a very funny family recitation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, hearing Santa’s sleigh bells ringing as he leaves our house and, of course, the Children’s Service of Lessons and Carols. Such joy and excitement – and oh so many children! – as we re-enact the thoughts, feelings, questions and dreams of those who gathered around the manger of long ago.

As I’ve grown older and had children of my own, it occurs to me that all of the feelings associated with Advent don’t ever leave us. The faces of the children, including my own face as a child, gathered around the manger on Christmas Eve are no different than the faces of the shepherds gathered around the manger edge over two thousand years ago. We too belong beside the manger: where we find God’s peace along with our own joy and fears. And so, we come each year to the manger, a little tired and a little preoccupied. But on that holiest of nights we whisper, be quiet, be silent, be at peace, be blessed.