Reflection Masthead
Issue 145 - Expectation  - December 2016

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"God gives his gifts
where he finds the vessel empty enough
to receive them.
Only the uncluttered emptiness of outstretched hands, our unashamed longing, leaves room for God."    --C.S. Lewis 

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Past Issues



2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

108-NBA Championship

110-On Freedom 

112 Robin Williams 


116-Kentucky Epiphany 

119-Christmas Mystery  


121-Radical Amazement 

122-St.John's Bible 

124-Botanical Garden 

126-Call of the King 

127-Living Our Stories 

128-Pope Francis 

129-Saint Francis 


131-The Way of Peace  

132-Danube Reflections  

133-Want Happiness? 

134-Our Uncertain Certainties 

135-Corita Kent 



138-Daniel Berrigan 






144-Along the Rhone  

Link to all past issues     


As we wait once again for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, let us contemplate the in-between time: now until the Incarnation.
Journey Through Wilderness
          Last Spring I bought a Meyer Lemon tree. Those of us from South Texas call those beautiful sun-lit orbs "Valley Lemons" which make the best Lemon Meringue Pie. The scrawny limbs produced with generous fecundity - pinkish white blossoms - which sadly I watched shrivel or fall off. Five remained. Since last summer, for 6 months I have waited. I've watered and fertilized and waited. Finally, on Thanksgiving weekend I harvested my first-born Meyer Lemons.
          The waiting was filled with hope and anticipation, much like this contemplation*...
          My name is Mary. I journeyed long through the wilderness and finally arrived at Elizabeth's house. I was anxious to see her. What a miracle! - for not only could she not bear children but she was way past the age of bearing them. 
          When I saw her we hugged for we both were excited. As our bellies pressed against the other, I felt a spark - a divine spark! Two women who knew each other, having miracles happen in their lives. That night I could feel the change in my body. 
          As Elizabeth was telling her story I really realized that God had purposely bonded us together to help one another - even with angels watching and waiting - we had that human element that we were not alone. Then our conversation stopped and the room fell silent. There was a glow about the room that surrounded us. Elizabeth placed my hand on her stomach and there was a leap for joy. Inside us and with us and I knew that God was present. Then I knew I was to stay with her until the baby came and we could learn and share our experiences together, like sisters. We waited. Together.

* With gratitude to C.F. for the inspiration.
                                             --By Jan

The Visitation (Luke 1:39-45)
My name is Zechariah. This scene occurs in my house, but I do not speak. I cannot speak, not since that day the angel met me in the temple; not since the day I was given the amazing news: A son. A son! When Elizabeth and I are "getting on in years" (as I politely informed the angel), when we are, quite bluntly, too old.
Now here they are in my house, rejoicing, rubbing each other's bellies: Elizabeth, who is too old, and her cousin Mary, who is too young, and too soon pregnant. I must admit - if  her pregnancy had happened before  our miraculous pregnancy, I, too, would have been suspicious. I, too, might have joined the crowd, winking and whispering behind her back.
But now I see them together, here in my house, radiant and joyous, laughing! And I am afraid. Call it an old man's worries, but, yes, I am afraid. If these children are to be special, as the angel Gabriel promised, that means their paths will be hard. Those who go their own ways must forge their own paths, through wilderness and often through pain. My son, I am told, is to be a prophet, to prepare the way of the Lord. Well! I am a priest; I have studied the scriptures. I know how the prophets were treated.
I am afraid, but I cannot speak, because I doubted the angel's word. I cannot speak my fear, and - who knows? - perhaps that is best. Why dampen their joy, begrudge their laughter? Let them hug and smile and wonder.
And so, we wait: joyous and yet afraid. They laughing and chattering; I mute. And so, we wait, wondering what awesome thing, what wondrous children, what frightening future is growing right here, in my house, in our midst, in their bodies?
Silently, I wait.
             --by Bill
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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries