(The editor of Ministry and Liturgy Magazine asked all of the contributors to create a wish list for the Church. The list was started by my reflections from the October issue, 2014. I also offer this version of John the Baptist. This drawing was my very fist in charcoal in the early autumn.)
A Christmas Wish List for the Church
I pray that when we place the infant Jesus in the manger in all of our parishes that we will also work hard to find adequate placements for foster and orphan children and learn to receive children running across national boarders trying to escape poverty or war.
I pray that when we decorate our sanctuaries for Christmas that we will also use our resources to find housing for mothers and children who face domestic violence especially in our suburbs.
I pray that when we set up our manger scenes in our churches that we will also tell the truth about families torn apart from generational alcoholism, about the truth of loneliness in family life on Christmas Eve.
I pray that when we celebrate the Word-Made-Flesh, we will also acknowledge and affirm all of God’s people, men and women, gay and straight, rich and poor, housed and homeless and then remove all of these labels in our prayer and service well beyond the Christmas season.
I pray that when we celebrate the three wise men traveling to the place of the Child, we will go out of our way as a Church to discover the real stories of our people lost in war, hatred and violence across the boundaries of nations and find again a star of hope that leads us to Christ Jesus.
I pray that when we celebrate Mary, the Mother of God, we will also acknowledge and care for the many mothers who abandon their children because of mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction and poverty and realize that we must mother the lost and forgotten.
I pray that when we celebrate the Flight into Egypt, we will begin to take our dreams seriously to protect our families. We need to pray for fathers who no longer act on their dreams for their families. I pray that the Church might flee into the night to save our runaway children, the children lost among heart-numbing poverty.
I pray that when we take down the dried trees and the dead poinsettias and put away the nativity scenes that we will then get to work in a new way for the dignity of family life, for the health and welfare of youth and parents who live in terrifying addictions, for children coming home from war and work hard to care for grandparents who will die alone this new year.