Well, it’s two days before Christmas and my wife and I are about to head west to spend Christmas with our youngest daughter. I was about to write about a particular Christmas Eve in Duquesne that I will never forget. In formulating what I was going to write in my head, I thought of a Christmas greeting that would tie in perfectly with that Christmas Eve. Enjoy….
Let me set the scene. It was Christmas Eve in Duquesne, and we had just received about 5 or 6 inches of snow. I recall driving down Kennedy Ave. toward midnight mass at Holy Name Church. Somewhere around the intersection of 2nd Street and Kennedy, I was struck by the contrast between the icy white snow that had fallen and the familiar orange glow that perpetually hovered above the mills. What some would think of as an eyesore, I thought it was so awesome. It reminded me of the “soup de jour” of Christmas decorations around that time. Homes had electrified plastic candelabras with 5 or 7 lights representing orange colored flames. I swear every home had at least a few in their windows. For some reason, that was what crossed my mind that evening.
We parked for mass that evening across the street from Holy Name in what was my father’s auto service parking lot. Volk’s Sales and Service, on the corner of 1st and Kennedy. As we got out of the car, I remember thinking how quiet every thing seemed. Inspite of the fact that there were people all around entering the church, the snow seemed to cushion their voices and you could hear the distinct sound of footsteps in the snow.
It is only now that recall how peaceful that evening was. That is why I would like to send you the following greeting. It was written in 1513 by a Franciscan priest… Fra Giovanni. I hope you enjoy it.
I salute you.
I am your friend and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not, but there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take.
No Heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see; and to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look.
Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.
Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the Angel’s hand that brings it to you.
Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty: believe me, that angel’s hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence.
Our joys, too: be not content with them as joys, they too conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and of purpose,so full of beauty—beneath its covering—that you will find that earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage, then to claim it:that is all!
But courage you have;and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you; not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem, and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIENDS!!!!