Christmas Eve and Christmas Day night found me taking the usual route on my after dark walks. Sometimes I just need to get out under the stars in the fresh air. The darkness is like a cloak and gives me peace and a place to pray and think things out. I love the sun as much as the next guy but it’s too much exposure when you are in a contemplative and introspective frame of mind or when you are upset about something. On my walks I want silence, peace and the spacious expanse of star and sky my only companions most of the time. .
I headed out onto the lane out by where the cow pastures are, the wide expanse of the fields giving me a sense of freedom that a city or a forest can never provide. Wide open spaces, freedom, peace, and a sky full of Christmas constellations like Orion keep me company and oriented, the woolen prayer rope at my side gives me something to focus on when my mind wanders.
I pray the Jesus Prayer, interspersed with my own private conversation with God on this holy night. I see Him in my minds eye like small child of two or three, wise beyond His years,the weight of worlds and the peace of God reflected in those tiny eyes. He appears to me like the statue of Jesus King of Love from Silverstream Priory, like a tiny King who somehow understands even at that tender age the role that He will play for all time.
He comes in the silence of the lane, walking close beside me yet always ahead of me leading me on, on past the glittered and bedecked facades of apartments and the dazzling sparkle of Christmas trees seen through people’s windows. He never speaks but only listens and leads. Somehow I trust that He hears my prayers and my pleading, not just for my own needs and desires but for all those I pray for in the ethereal starlight of Christmas.