At Creator Mundi, serving you in Denver, Colorado, we have a wide variety of prayer and scripture gifts. Each piece is uniquely suited to create a spiritual connection or memory for yourself or your loved one. We understand that you are looking for a meaningful and beautifully crafted prayer aid or scripture gift. You are sure to find the perfect piece in our gallery.
Gifts For Every Occasion
Celebrate the baptism, confirmation, or marriage of your loved ones with the perfect Christian gift from Creator Mundi. Prayer and scripture gifts are versatile and meaningful for any occasion. Whether you are searching for a gift for a child, an adult, or a teenager, the gentle, encouraging reminder that God’s love is available is something that your loved one will cherish for years to come.
Prayer Cubes, Crosses & Rosaries
We have beautiful home decor, small treasures, and so much more, for you to choose from. Each piece is a work of art. Here are just a few of the perfect gifts with an emphasis on prayer or scripture that we have available:
- Pocket Angel In Matchbox
- The Original Mindfulness Prayer Cube Limited
- Prayer Of St. Francis Cross
- Good Morning, God & Good Night Cross
- Rosary Of The Word, Rose Quartz Beads
- Be Not Afraid Cross With Black Patina
- Trust In Me Cross
The Gift Of Peace With Meditation & Prayer
Encourage quiet reflection with the Holy Spirit through prayer gifts such as a unique rosary or prayer cube. Prayer aids are the perfect Catholic gift. They can serve to enhance the relationship between our Creator and your loved one.
Scripture, Reminders Of God’s Love
Scripture gifts offer your loved ones gentle reminders of God’s love. The simple bible verse engraved on a cross or artistic sculpture breathes a whole new life and energy and peace into the home.
After a long day, your friend comes home tired and anxious. He sees the cross that tells him to “Trust In Me.” Knowing this bible verse gift is the word of God, he closes his eyes and says a quiet prayer.
Later on, he calls you one more time to thank you for the gift. He is blown away by how often that one simple piece of scripture helps him to recenter and see the world as God sees it.
Creator Mundi Has Your Perfect Gift
At Creator Mundi, we are your go-to store for beautiful, quality spiritual gifts. Offering free shipping on orders over $50, 10% discounts for nonprofits, and specially commissioned pieces, we guarantee satisfaction. Call, email, or stop by our store in Englewood and let us help you pick the perfect gift today.
Fill this holiday season with something sacred and special when you choose from our collection of religious Christmas gifts. Creator Mundi strives to procure products that bring both beauty and richness to people’s lives.
The Advent and Christmas season is such a special time for Catholics and Christians everywhere. Celebrate with those you love with gifts that add depth and meaning to the season. Some of our favorite sacred Christmas gifts include:
- The Original Catholic Prayer Cube
- Nativity Scene With Star
- Angel Of Love Ornament
- Rejoice Holy Family With Moveable Jesus
- 12 Piece Painted Lathed Wood Nativity
- Advent Candle Box Set
- Advent Calendar: Star Of Bethlehem
The Original Catholic Prayer Cube
This simple yet beautiful birchwood prayer cube is made in Germany and is a perfect stocking stuffer for the young person working on learning their basic Catholic prayers. It’s a fun and engaging way to create a practice of family prayer.
Catholic Nativity Scene With Star
Our solid bronze nativity scene is a precious and compact addition to any table, desk or nightstand. Made in the Old-World style in Germany, this small piece relays the incredible story of the Nativity to bring hope and reverence this holiday.
Angel Of Love Ornament
Honor the holiness of the Christmas season with this luminous, colorful ornament. Handmade in Thailand this beautiful piece will bring grace to any tree and makes a perfect gift for Christmas.
Rejoice Holy Family With Moveable Jesus
Hand-carved by Italian master carvers, this solid Maplewood piece is certain to become a family heirloom enjoyed for generations. Let the Holy Family bring unity and unshakable peace to a home this holiday.
12 Piece Painted Lathed Wood Nativity
Especially popular with families, this nativity scene is a delightful way to set the tone for the Advent and Christmas season. A wonderful tradition embraced by many, displaying the nativity in your home is a time-honored way to evoke sacredness and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Advent Candle Box Set
This traditional set includes three purple and one pink Advent candle. The lighting of an Advent candle each week is rich with symbolism and anticipation as we honor the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. The candle ring is sold separately.
Advent Calendar: Star Of Bethlehem
Another treasured family favorite, this whimsical Advent calendar will bring joy and delight to the home. Made of fabric, this item comes with detachable velcro-backed stuffed figurines meant to be fit in a pocket for each day of Advent.
Inspired Religious Christmas Gifts For Everyone
If you’re looking for the perfect religious Christmas gift, look no further than the selection at Creator Mundi. We have a wide variety of spiritual gifts for everyone on your list. Browse our selection today to find the best present for your friends and loved ones.
No matter how much light I carry within me, there will always be times of feeling lost, being confused, seeking direction. It is the way of the human heart.” ― Joyce Rupp, The Star in My Heart: Experiencing Sophia, Inner Wisdom
|11-30 to 12-3-2017||Advent Weekend Intensive Retreat||Contemplative Outreach||http://www.contemplativeoutreach-co.org/retreats/advent-intensive-retreat|
|12-13-2017||Meditation and the Brain||Contemplative Outreach, Bob Mischke||http://www.contemplativeoutreach-co.org/classes/other-offerings?id=257:meditation-and-the-brain&catid=55:classes|
|12-16-2017||Half Day of Prayer||Contemplative Outreach||http://www.contemplativeoutreach-co.org/days-of-prayer/half-day-of-prayers|
|3-15 to 3-18-2017||Los Angeles Religious Education Congress||Sponsored by Archdiocese of L.A.||http://www.recongress.org/|
|4-3 to 4-5-2018||NCEA Convention & Expo, Cincinnati||National Catholic Education Association||http://ncea.org/NCEA2018|
|4-10-2018||Center for Religious Diversity and Public Life, Colorado Springs||John Philip Newell, Heartbeat||http://heartbeatjourney.org/events/center-for-religious-diversity-and-public-life-colorado-springs-colorado-usa/|
|4-11-2018||First United Methodist Church, Colorado Springs||John Philip Newell, Heartbeat||First United Methodist Church, Colorado Springs,|
|4-13 to 4-15-2017||CO School of Celtic Consciousness||John Philip Newell, Heartbeat||Colorado School of Celtic Consciousness, Colorado, USA|
|4-18-2018||Iliff School of Theology, Denver||John Philip Newell, Heartbeat||http://heartbeatjourney.org/events/iliff-school-of-theology-denver-colorado-usa-5/|
|4-20 to 4-22-2018||St. Andrew’s Episcopal, Denver||John Philip Newell, Heartbeat||http://heartbeatjourney.org/events/st-andrews-episcopal-denver-colorado-usa/|
|4-21-2018||2018 Annual Conference, Arvada Center||Contemplative Outreach, Richard Rohr|
|7-5 to 7-12-2017||General Convention of the Episcopal Church, Austin, TX||Episcopal Church||https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/17152|
Our calendar of events includes events of some other organizations whose mission corroborates with that of Creator Mundi. To promote your event, please email details (name of event, date, time, location, contact info, cost, website link) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to select listings.
Creator Mundi can help you find perfect religious gifts for him with this handy spiritual gift guide. Whether you’re shopping for your husband, father, grandfather, son, or brother, we have the perfect gift of faith for any occasion. We are here to offer an array of ideas for the special men in your life. Find the perfect cross or crucifix, prayer devotional, rosary, or statue, and he’ll be delighted every time he sees it, just knowing how much you care for him and encourage him in his faith.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to shop for men, even if you know their interests well. What to get for the guy who seems to have everything? We’re here to help. Since he probably doesn’t carry a purse, getting your guy something pocket-sized is a wonderful and thoughtful gesture. He can pray on-the-go with one of our prayer pieces such as:
If you have a son, grandson, or man who is transitioning into the world of adulthood, starting a new job, or moving away from home, Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, can protect and guide him during this phase of his life. It is common to place a plaque of Saint Christopher in cars for protection during travels. These are perfect gifts for the catholic men in your life or any men of strong faith. You might find one of these will make a wonderful gift for those who travel frequently.
- Saint Christopher Car Plaque
- Saint Christopher Oval Car Plaque
- Magnetic Saint Christopher Car Plaque
- Saint Christopher Square Keychain
Finding The Perfect Gift
Even the most discerning person of faith will find something they love at Creator Mundi. We have a wide range of devotional items catering to multiple denominations. Celebrate the faith of your husband, father, or brother by finding the perfect religious gift for him.
We suggest browsing our selection of birthday, anniversary, and wedding gifts or even our collection of saints where you’ll be sure to find something, even for the man who can be difficult to shop for. Our gifts are also perfect for men from any denomination.
Christian & Catholic Gifts For Men
Christian and Catholic gifts for him can be found at Creator Mundi. Help deepen his relationship with Christ by offering a special gift of faith. As the men in your life live up to their vocations as fathers, husbands, and men of God they should be honored. Let them know how much you care and support them by browsing our collection of religious gifts for Christian and Catholic men today.
If you have a friend or loved one for whom you need the perfect religious birthday gift ideas, nothing quite compares to the gifts of faith we offer at Creator Mundi. Share the gift of love and light for this special occasion, and give your nearest and dearest something that will continue to bring joy to their life day after day. Below you can find some of our favorite suggestions.
A powerful symbol of hope through times of transition and growth, this bronze pendant is hand-crafted in Germany and adds a delicate grace to any neckline. This piece comes with a nylon cord, although a chain may be purchased separately.
Celebrating God’s creations and the joy they bring, this solid bronze wall cross is divided into four panels representing the vast array of His goodness. From church and the life-giving sun to the bounty on earth and in the sea, this cross is a joyful celebration of all that we have.
This artisanal solid bronze piece is made in France and admired by all ages for its Old World beauty and religious significance. Inlayed with blue and red enamel, it is both a daily testament to faith and a reminder of the gift we’ve received from Christ.
Perfect for the introspective and growth-oriented loved one in your life who is always seeking their truest self. Solid bronze with graceful lines, this work of spiritual art poetically captures the act of self-awareness and transformation. Crafted by hand in Germany.
Handcrafted in a monastery atelier in France, this simple piece is a constant reminder of the splendor found in peace. Made of dolomite stone and resin, this powerful biblical symbol is something that will be cherished as a family heirloom throughout the years.
For the free-spirited person in your life who casts off their bowlines and lets God guide them through all that comes. The sailboat symbolizes freedom—the freedom
that comes from following the Spirit. A perfect reminder to trust and let go! Made of solid bronze this plaque is certain to be a blessing in any space.
Birthday Gifts Of Faith
Religious birthday gift ideas are abundant at Creator Mundi. We have the widest selection of faithful gifts for many different denominations. Find out why our collection of crosses, pendants, wall art and more will be the best place to discover the next birthday gift you purchase.
Even as I continue to search for answers I become more certain the radical call is to our humanity.
I like Walter Brueggeman’s concept of “calling” which he articulates in the dedication (to his new grandson) of his collection Prayers for a Privileged People:
“We are born into some privilege, and invited (called) to a life of reflection, yielding, and glad obedience.”
Reflection on the ultimate questions… Who am I/who are we… Why am I here/why are we here.
Yielding… to the reality that we are not our own… we are the Creator’s people.
Glad obedience… to the Creator’s large, deep oaths and purposes…
Thank you to Stewart Meagher for sharing his thoughts. What does it mean for each of us to be gladly obedient, to yield to the reality of our givenness? We are not our own…
The tree of life is a powerful Christian symbol, representing both our pristine pre-fall condition and Christ’s cross.
Pope Francis has said: “What counts is being permeated with Christ’s love, allowing oneself to be led by the Holy Spirit, and grafting one’s own existence onto the tree of life, which is the Cross of the Lord. . . .”
Recent discoveries and insights are leading scientists to envision life on earth as a tree with several trunks and all the varied life-forms growing as limbs from these trunks. This vision began with Charles Darwin, who wrote that the “great Tree of Life fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.” (For more, click to read “Scientists Unveil a New ‘Tree of Life'” in The New York Times.)
So the tree of life may be seen as a symbol for all life; it is also an archetypal symbol appearing throughout the world’s religions; and, for Christians, of course, it is a testament to the ever-growing, timeless love of God. Christ’s cross is the tree our hope hangs on.
The tree of life is the love of God.
-St. Isaac the Syrian
Glass is a miraculous substance: a liquid turns to a solid but in its solid state can be as transparent as the clearest water. Made of silica, the primary component of sand, glass is manipulated in its viscous molten stage—it may become a window, a graceful bowl, a piece of art.
Glass, highly fragile, and beautiful, might be seen as a symbol for the fragility and beauty of human nature. When our fragility rests with God, though, it rests in God’s nature, and reflects strength, not weakness. We are fragile beings, but we’re not alone in our fragility.
If we toughen ourselves and cannot admit our fragility, our beauty may be hidden from others, for fragility is intertwined with human beauty. Allowing ourselves to be fragile, too, can open us more fully to God; when we admit to our powerlessness, we invite God’s healing, saving power.
The Gospels are full of stories of our fragility: Jesus shepherds the wandering and weak sheep, he takes pity on the suffering and on the sinner. The strong, the wealthy, the winners among us are not motivators for his compassionate action. The truth is, we are all fragile, we only imagine sometimes that we are not. Ironically, it takes strength to admit it.
“When Jesus heard this, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’” (Mark 2:17)
“Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
“When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’” (Matthew 9:11-13)
“Your fragility is also your strength.”
– Pina Bausch, German dancer
The ephemeral beauty of a delicate flower, of a tiny bird, of a humble man or woman imbued with God’s peace inspire wonder and admiration. A stained glass window gracing a church is beautiful in part because of its fragile nature.
Creator Mundi’s new glass pieces bring together beauty and fragility, reminding us of our reliance on God.
Let their love be a seal upon their hearts,
a mantle about their shoulders.
Bless them each morning, each noon, each night!
Walk with them and send Your angel before them.
The Covenant Cross, above, can be found here.
We set stock by the steps we take between life’s seasons. Kids graduate from preschool and move on to kindergarten. Teens graduate from high school and go on to college or career. Adults might graduate from childlessness to parenthood. We graduate from one job to another and then many of us graduate into retirement.
In our spiritual lives, we hope to graduate from infant’s milk to solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14 and 1 Corinthians 3:2). We graduate by the grace of God and our own yearning and cooperation. Father Thomas Keating tells us “The chief act of the will is not effort but consent.” Let us consent to each of our graduations as we walk the journey of transformation.
Do we need to graduate from fear to trust?
How about graduating from lack of confidence to confidence in God and God’s purpose for us?
Maybe we yearn to graduate from an ankle-deep religion to a life-changing, loving commitment?
Keating tells us God wants “our consent to his love of us.” This is the key to our transformation.
Graduation is a movement forward, even when accompanied by uncertainty (let us consent to trust!).
We love to mark life’s transitional moments. Let’s celebrate life’s graduations, big and small. It’s been said that we do not ask enough of God. Let’s ask God for a lot. Pope Francis has said, “Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!” Dream big, dream with God.
– – – – – – – –
The Grace Presbyterian Church logo was designed by Rev. Matthew Syrdal in the spirit of the Celtic tradition. Matthew’s desire was to capture the power of the icon, what is known in many traditions world-wide as a mandala (a quadrated circle)–a symbol of wholeness and a pedagogical tool for a Celtic and Reformed theology of creation.
The cross inside the circle is a symbol of Christ as the archetypal self, the soul of the cosmos. The four cardinal directions represent the four seasons of spring, summer, fall, winter, as do the four “leaves” emanating from the central “tree of life.” The four directions also represent the life cycle of human development through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood. The four leaves contain within them an ichthus or “fish,” symbolizing the four gospels and the feeding of the four-thousand, bringing spiritual sustenance to the four corners of the world.
The tree is also the chalice of the sacramental life of communion, the body and cup of the mystical Christ at the heart of creation, forming a labyrinth to the center of the Godhead. On the right hand side, between the leaf and the chalice is a “mistake,” an open area signifying the beauty of imperfection.
This logo is in the center of the cross above the chancel in the sanctuary at Grace Presbyterian Church in Highland’s Ranch, Colorado, as a witness to the fullness and wholeness of the journey of discipleship on which we are called.
Last week some of our Creator Mundi staff attended the Los Angeles Religious Congress, an annual gathering of Catholics from all continents and many countries. As in years past, we had been asked to exhibit our symbols of faith, anticipating that some of the 40,000+ attendees would find us in the large convention exhibit space.
People came in droves, complementing us, thanking us for continuing to offer authentic symbols of our Christian faith made by artisans who receive just compensation for their work and who work in safe environments. Some have visited us for many years. I commented that we had grown older (old) together. We received many gestures of love and respect, hugs and kisses, blessings and encouragement, dinner invitations and more.
Along the way, some of our customers performed miracles:
We invited Father Chris for dinner. He and some of his guests joined us for the evening. We were totally surprised when we found out that he had arranged with our waiter beforehand to treat us.
After an intimate conversation, Ray, a Professor of Theology, left saying: “You are so good to me.” Later in the afternoon he returned: “This is my favorite candy, please accept this.”
One mid-morning I noticed among our displays what I thought did not belong there. “Whose bananas are these?” I asked. Guia, our longtime friend and helper, beamed. “Fr. Pat brought them . . . and coffee.”
Bishop Barnes in the booth next to us greeted us warmly every morning with a solid handshake, which became a hug before long. This L.A. Archdiocese, its people and guests, is awesome, one big family–all races and nationalities together. Everybody is invited to participate in journeying along with the presenters, the bishops, the clergy, exploring fresh ways of being church, of receiving God’s love. Our customers were from Ireland, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, Brazil, France, Greenland, Japan
. . . will you come next year?
P.S. Father Pat’s Twitter address is @mythguidedlife.com
Hildegard established Creator Mundi in 1987 and continues to find joy in discovering distinctive sacred art and gifts for Creator Mundi’s followers.
Pope Francis has declared this a year of mercy. We all need mercy. And we need images of mercy and comfort that remind us of God’s constant forgiveness, love and presence.
Pope Francis:“Etymologically, ‘mercy’ derives from misericordis, which means opening one’s heart to wretchedness. And immediately we go to the Lord: mercy is the divine attitude which embraces, it is God’s giving himself to us, accepting us, and bowing to forgive. Jesus said he came not for those who were good but for the sinners. He did not come for the healthy, who do not need the doctor, but for the sick. For this reason, we can say that mercy is God’s identity card. God of Mercy, merciful God.”“The most important thing in the life of every man and every woman is not that they should never fall along the way. The important thing is always to get back up, not to stay on the ground licking your wounds. The Lord of mercy always forgives me; he always offers me the possibility of starting over. He loves me for what I am, he wants to raise me up, and he extends his hand to me…. For as long as we are alive it is always possible to start over, all we have to do is let Jesus embrace us and forgive us.”
Just as He extends his hand to us, we extend a hand to others, we embrace and forgive others.“Jesus sends forth his disciples not as holders of power or as masters of a law. He sends them forth into the world asking them to live in the logic of love and selflessness.”
- Pope Francis, The Name of God is Mercy
At times, we find ourselves in the presence of a Burning Bush in the middle of daily life. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Perhaps you’ve encountered a person with awe, who transformed the moment you met, the here and then, into a sacred space. Perhaps you witnessed the beauty of spring, the loveliness of fall, the rising sun, the star-spangled night sky and you instantly knew that you had been invited to be in the presence of the Divine.
In my home country of Germany, every Saturday evening at 7:00, Catholic and Protestant churches, cathedrals and chapels ring their bells–usually in harmony with each other. To me, it seems that every corner of the country that these beautiful sounds touch becomes sacred space. The land and its people are reminded of the presence of the divine.
The locals say THE BELLS ANNOUNCE THE SUNDAY. The bells guide the nation into God’s embrace.
Creating Our Own Sacred Space
Perhaps you have decided to remake your home as a sacred space. You may choose to set aside a room for a house chapel, your Sanctuary, where you will rest and strengthen body, mind and soul, where you will find silence, beauty and comfort. Or you may dedicate a special corner for times of prayer and contemplation.
Perhaps each room in your home will become sacred space, displaying symbols of the divine throughout, complementing these symbols with compositions of musical masters, creating an ambiance of heaven?
Hildegard established Creator Mundi in 1987 and continues to find joy in discovering distinctive sacred art and gifts for Creator Mundi’s followers.
Quotes on Love from Hildegard
The heart is like that: grace-filled and trembling
once it has known
You will find yourself knee-deep in ecstasy
when all your talents to love
have reached their heights.
Go running through this world
giving love, giving love.
We all need union with love or we die prematurely.
Love can endure the silence.
To love we need to leave the love-seat of fear.
Our hearts are lovers.
I see myself reflected in your tender loving eyes.
We carry all the ingredients
to choose love.
May we suffer with tenderness the daily wounds that accompany love.
May our crooked hearts love all who are crooked.
Let us decide to welcome the challenging stages of love.
Hildegard established Creator Mundi in 1987 and continues to find joy in discovering distinctive sacred art and gifts for Creator Mundi’s followers.
A Poet’s Thoughts on Love
What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in our hearts?
It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up!
Happiness is the great work,
Though every heart must first become
Who really knows
people who need to love, because
Love is the soul’s life,
Creations greatest joy.
Our separation from God,
is the hardest work
Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly.
The Heart is
The thousand-stringed instrument
That can only be tuned with
One cannot master love, one can only serve as a vessel of love…
You were brave in that holy war.
You have all the honorable wounds
Of one who has tried to find love.
The true matter of spirituality is love…
I will turn myself into an
if you will
apply me to your wounds.
So God will think,
I got kin in that body!
Quotes from Daniel Ladinsky’s The Gift: Poems by Hafiz.
Hafiz was a 14th century Persian mystic. His poetry sings of God’s love.
It’s easy to hit the right notes,
but hard to make music…
Last week we were honored to accept an invitation to Spiritual Direction Colorado’s annual conference.
When Terry Hershey spoke on sanctuaries my mind immediately focused on liturgical spaces, churches and chapels, temples, mosques and synagogues, prayer gardens and cemeteries, house chapels and prayer corners: our traditional spaces for worship and prayer. Hershey had something more in mind.
I had never thought of the possibility of ‘being sanctuary’ or being an ‘ad hoc sanctuary.’
Hershey cradled a holding cross crafted out of plum wood in hand. “This is a portal into a sanctuary, a sanctuary perhaps without any words, just tender presence to each other….”
I ask myself: Can I be a portal to someone’s sanctuary, or even: Whose sanctuary will I or may I be?
Terry Hershey’s Book is Creating a Space for Grace in your life.
By Father Pat Dolan
Even as we hear singers proclaim “and heaven and nature sing,” we are mindful that this has been a year marked by more tragedy than festivity. Most of us have watched this year as we see prejudice continue to tear apart our world and devastate countless lives. We have witnessed Islamic extremists twisting real religion into a thin disguise for political ambition and raw bigotry, as well as the continued individual acts of terror visited upon young black men in our own country by systems that continue to rationalize and justify our own racism. We have seen the shame of our own country’s political process, once the purview of diplomats and statesmen, reduced to a reality-TV style spectacle that leaves all involved with too little dignity to represent our people among the world’s nations.
In the midst of all this mess, our Pope has called us to a year of mercy, and true to form, within days, voices from within and outside of our Church have begun their attempts to quickly massage the meaning of the word to their own agendas. Still the standard definitions of this word continue to move us toward kind and forgiving behavior toward someone when harsher treatment is a possibility. Mercy comes from the very sense of compassion we celebrate this season.
God, who could do away with creation, could simply ignore it or could hold it in some sort of condemnation, chooses to bond with it. He comes to walk alongside those whom he could rightly judge as being beneath his notice. This mercy comes not only from a place of deep compassion but one of lofty vision. God sees the world as it could be. Our own vision is too often more earthbound.
In our affluent culture it is not an uncommon practice for children to be invited to make a “Christmas list.” It is not even that uncommon for many to see their lists realized by busy, behind the scene forces. And while I have often wondered at the wisdom of annually nurturing such an entitlement mentality in young minds still in the process of formation, I wonder even more at the smallness of the results and ensuing visions. Given the belief that some magical being will bring them what they desire, it’s actually quite amazing that young children’s “asks” stay in the area of video games or hover-boards (regardless of the lithium laden dangers).
Even the most confused and nervous of beauty pageant participants would be able to mutter something about “world peace” when asked what they want. Do our children simply want less? Are they that short sighted and self-centered? Or, as I suspect, do they pick up from those around them an unspoken, self-evident understanding of the limits of their Christmas lists and what hopes remain beyond the expectations of elves and sleigh rides? The sadness in this last thought is that we have all been raised to hope for too little. We have not had Christmas overrun by commercialism, but belittled by it. We hear the story of the Creator of all things, the Supreme Being, God, or any other title lofty enough to convey what is beyond expression, coming to be among us as one of us and to bring us into an eternal place of light . . . and from this fantastical event, we have learned to hope for a new drone or an Apple watch.
Over the past few weeks I have tried to reframe the winter darkness as a sacred space within which we can begin to dream. The most tragic victim of our holiday “rush” is the possibility for quiet reflection. Given time to sit in the dark and envision the world we cannot see, what images might we paint? Can we even list the vast number of more pointless gifts throughout our lives which have been received, trifled with, set aside and soon forgotten without any real enrichment having taken place?
What are the true gifts of this amazing season that we might seek out, discover and begin using to intentionally live in the story of heaven and earthly nature coming together? Whom might we forgive? Who might we seek to better understand? What internal beliefs about others could we begin to challenge, not that we ever get rid of our prejudices, but so that we stop living out of them? How do we look at all that has happened in the past year and begin to offer mercy and hope?
What do we need to begin the work envisioned by the Child for whom “heaven and nature” both sing? Maybe the answers to such questions should top our Christmas list as we begin this year of mercy. I believe there is no greater witness to our faith in God than our mercy for one another. There is likewise no greater gift. I am reminded this season of young Malala Yousafzai who after all she has been through says, “I believe in peace. I believe in mercy.” I believe that such are the visions and dreams that may once again bring heaven and earth into joyful song.
– Fr. Pat Dolan, Most Precious Blood Church, Denver, Colorado (click here to read about Father Pat)