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  • Writer's pictureElisa Juarez

Christmas Eve

December 24, 2023

It’s Christmas Eve. All is calm, all is bright. Sigh. This day is a landing place after a busy stretch of days and weeks, and the road I’ve traveled this year. I feel weary, but grateful and glad.

I think of the long journey that Joseph and Mary made across the desert on a donkey….and pregnant! How weary they must have been. One of my favorite Christmas songs, “Breath of Heaven,” expresses Mary’s inner struggle with that journey and her own vulnerability:

I have traveled many moonless nights, cold and weary with a babe inside, and I wonder what I’ve done.Holy father, you have come and chosen me now to carry your son. I am waiting in a silent prayer; I am frightened by the load I bear, in a world as cold as stone. Must I walk this path alone? Be with me now….Breath of heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me. Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness; Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy.

Go with me beyond the story of Mary and Jesus to the profound universal truth tucked within this song. Mary represents each one of us, feeling the weight of the world and the challenging road ahead. She knows she is carrying a divine being which she is to deliver to a cold, often heartless world. The significance of this sacred journey is overwhelming, and she feels scared, weary, and alone. She expresses her anguish by calling out to God for help, praying for the breath of heaven to pour over her, give her strength, and light the way. In the fullness of her humanity, she acknowledges the Presence of Divine Love.

My spiritual journey has led me to the awareness that I, too, have authentic gifts to deliver to the world. I have carried ideas, dreams, and responsibilities with a sense of purpose. Through the seasons of raising children, cultivating a marriage and family, caring for my parents, and nurturing my own body and soul, I've often felt like Mary - weary and overwhelmed. I've called on the Presence of God to hold me together and help me be. What I've learned is that Divine Love is our longing and our fulfillment. It stirs within us and seeks expression through us; and yet we struggle with a sense of unworthiness. So did Mary, as seen in the next verse (which gets me every time):

Do you wonder as you watch my face if a wiser one should have had my place? But I offer all I am to the mercy of your plan. Help me be strong. Help me be. Help me.

This world “as cold as stone” can dishearten and discourage us. It is easy to feel inadequate, even hopeless. Again, Mary reaches out to the divinity she knows and loves, the holiness that is God and Love and Wholeness. She knows she belongs to that. We, too, came from Wholeness and belong to it. Divine Love was placed in our womb to be held, nurtured, and delivered. It is also that Love which holds, nurtures, and delivers us. When we feel disconnected from it, we can seek and ask, “Be forever near me, hold me together, lighten my darkness, pour over me your holiness…help me be strong. Help me be.”

This song speaks directly to each one of us, but it’s easier to put it all on Mary and Jesus. Then we don’t have to carry that load of responsibility or own our divinity. However, you, too, have been chosen to bear a spark of the divine. It is your true self, and your life is a journey of discovery and purpose. You are accompanied and empowered by Spirit forever and always. All you need to do is offer yourself for the mercy of Love’s plan in and through you. Welcome Christmas by honoring the gifts, dreams, and longings of your soul. Let the breath of heaven renew your spirit, lighten your load, and fill you with Joy.

Here is the YouTube link to the song:

Merry Christmas!


Elisa J. Juarez

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