My kids always decorate the Christmas tree.

Here’s my confession: I don’t feel like it’s Christmas. I caught the flu almost two weeks ago and have been feeling miserable ever since. This holiday is generally a low-key affair in my house anyway, but I usually try to celebrate Advent and attend Christmas Eve services. I listen to sacred choir music in the car while running errands and enjoy seeing the light displays others put up.

I didn’t get to do much of that this year. I’ve spent most of the last week in bed or in the comfy chair in the living room reading or playing computer games. And now it’s Christmas morning and I feel like I’ve missed it. I’ll still cook the stuffed crown roast of lamb that I make every year, plus the apple pie, but aside from that it could be any other day. I’m currently sitting in the comfy chair typing on my computer, my kids are playing computer games, and my husband is trying to put his office back together. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

Some of it’s because I’m still sick. Some of it’s because I’m prone to depression and perfectionism anyway, and I hate that I’ve been minimally functional for over a week. Life has also been particularly hard for my family recently. But I refuse to give in. One of the blessings of the Benedictine life is its constancy. St. Benedict wrote his rule for us to be closer to God, but he also highlights the fact that God is constantly trying to be closer to us. God never ceases to open the way to us. It’s that promise that I’m clinging to today.

So without further ado, here is my Christmas Poem for Hope:

C ome, O Lord, into my heart
H eavy with fear and despair
R estore my hope for love and peace
I n the face of doubt and menace
S ave your people from our desolate longings
T ransform us into your vessels
M ake us whole and connect us all
A ssured of your love and grace
S aved by your Son, the infant Christ

D ignity incarnate
A bsent the trappings of power
Y et all we need to reclaim creaton's goodness.

May Christ be your light this Christmas Day and every day.