These are days I treasure.  Our agency is closed, graduate school and opera on break, the days mine to enjoy and fill as I wish. I catch up on books, walks at the lake, movies, time with friends. This is my Christmas, one of nurturing and needed rest.

I pray this time will restore body and soul from the rigors of recent weeks. Pain-filled reality has been laid bare challenging me again ‘to give it all to God.’ The readings today offer images that mirror this time. God’s love has surrounded, sustained and caught me in many unexpected kindnesses and miracles of all shapes and sizes.  Waiting for the Savior’s birth and living in his active presence has been my light this Advent and Christmastide. Simeon notes in the temple that this light “reveals you to the nations.” I welcome and celebrate this light that pierced my own darkness.

—Mary Burke-Peterson  is a parishioner at St. Nicholas Church, Evanston, an active volunteer in the Ignatian Spirituality Project, and a graduate student at Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University.