Let us now lay aside all earthly cares.
– Cherubikon, 6th Century Hymn
The above is an excerpt from a hymn sung at my church every Sunday. It is an invitation to remove from one’s mind the business of life and to focus on those things that bring meaning to life itself. The words generally find me wondering if I put the diapers in the wash or what groceries we need, and re-direct my mind to more important things.
If you celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ, then I entreat you: as we approach the weekend, forget about whether you spent enough money on someone, or too much money altogether. Forget about the fact that you never got around to sending Christmas cards, or that your packages won’t arrive on time to your out-of-town relatives. There are many fun and wonderful traditions surrounding Christmas, but let us not allow these things to overwhelm us to the point where we can no longer appreciate the significance of the Nativity.
Dare not to be the glazed-over, stressed-out person in Walmart on Christmas Eve because just one more thing would make your Christmas complete (hint: it won’t). I invite you to “lay aside all earthly cares” as we approach the day of the Nativity. Today’s story comes in the form of a John Donne poem:
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.
– John Donne
Please take a second to submit a quick story pitch to me today! I’m looking for submissions for January. Merry Christmas!