Dec. 24, 1995
Brother John Raymond
It was very cold outside. The wind was howling. Joseph was seen
walking inside. Perhaps he'd done some errand. Outside the door no
one was around. Was it the cold? Or worse, didn't anyone care? He
was inside. Why weren't there visitors? I could see a light, only
one light inside. It seemed to be a candle.
Perhaps the lack of visitors could be attributed to all that was
going on in the city. What a busy time! What confusion! So many
people from out of town. People who had grown up there, moved away
and now they were back __ we all know why. What with one thing and
another, special meals to cook, extra beds to be made up, endless
conversations and so many dishes to wash who could find time to
visit Him? Perhaps later.
The wind howled. It was really cold. So who could be expected, on
such a night, to go there? To go and visit Him even for a moment.
Sensible enough. We must use our common sense. We must be prudent.
"What good is it to catch a cold?" one woman asked. True, how true.
But still people were going out. In fact they were going out a
great deal. People visited their relatives. People went off, that
night, to see their friends. Of course they dressed warmly. No
doubt, it was their duty, their obligation. Of course, it meant no
one visited Him. And when they visited each other they brought
presents, ate good food and much laughter was heard. Nothing wrong
with that. People need each other. People should visit each other.
Or else they'd be lonely.
The wind continued to howl outside of where He was. No one came
to visit Him. "Perhaps tomorrow", some said. Not even the children
came to see Him. "With all that's going on in the city these days,
how could they?" one grandmother challenged. "When they are older it
will be easier," she added with a nod of her head.
It was really cold. He was waiting silently. He was hoping. Even
though He knew __ no one would come that night. Sure, He forgave
them. Sure, He understood. But how often people say, "He'll
understand" meaning "Go ahead and treat Him insensitively." What
strange ways we use words!
The cold wind still swept by where He was. True, He was inside.
But what was causing so much cold wind? No, it could not be from the
coldness of people's hearts __ or could it? Wait, something is
passing by His place. It's a car. Why are you surprised? No, this is
not about Bethlehem, long ago. It's about a parish church wherein
Jesus dwells in the tabernacle. Joseph is the name of the church
custodian. (Oh, Joseph just came out of the church, locked the door
and is walking home.) It's about a parish church on Christmas night
__ on His Birthday.
The wind seems colder now as it sweeps the snow around on the
church steps. I can still see, through one window, the flicker of
that candle; the sanctuary lamp. The wind continues to howl and
seems now to even ask a question, "Is this your parish church?"