by Ken Rolheiser
Christmas buffet this Advent

The whole world paused this morning when an eight-year-old’s tank was empty. I was preparing to leave for work when I noticed my littlest standing in the bathroom wiping his face. I asked if he was okay, tears were silently dripping, and he shook his head. 

I sat on the side of the tub and pulled him in my lap. I told him sometimes our heart tanks feel empty and need to be refilled. He cried into my chest and I held tight. I asked if he could feel my love filling him up? A nod, and tears stopped.
I waited a minute. “Has it reached your toes yet?” He shook his head no. 

“Okay man. We will take as long as you need. Work doesn’t matter right now. School isn’t important either. This right here is the most important thing today, okay? Filling you back to the top. Is that good?” (Nods).

One more minute. “Is your heart full of mama’s love now?” “Yeah.” Looks in his eyes. “I see it shining in there, you’re full to the top, and you’re smiling!” (Shared by David Sayers, digital creator).

I remember one Christmas Day and my one objective, to get hungry before Christmas Dinner. Too much feasting Christmas Eve and too many treats Christmas morning had me sated.

I began this column with the title “Running on Empty”. My metaphors got mixed. Spiritual hunger will lead us to the Christmas Banquet. I can picture God embracing us, like the mother in our opening story. God will embrace us until our empty reaches full, and our sadness becomes Joy.

Take a minute and feel the LOVE. Let God’s embrace fill you to the brim until it spills over in your eyes. Thank you, Jesus.

Advent songs can reflect our hungry hearts. “”O come, O come Emanuel; ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear.” Then we will rejoice!

“Oh come Divine Messiah! The world in silence waits the day. / When hope shall sing its triumph, and sadness flee away.” “Come Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free. / From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.”

Oh, to feel the hunger of children waiting for Christmas! “It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol).

May the wonders of Christmas Past, Present and Future always live in our hearts.
“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol).

It is time to embrace the longing we once felt as children. Will Baby Jesus ever come? We watched the December setting suns and thrilled when it turned red. The Christ Child was baking Christmas cookies!

Hungry hearts had us restlessly trying to sleep at night. The afternoon nap times seemed endless, but Mother insisted we get our rest. How could these short December days seem so long?

Stay hungry, my friend!

(532 words)