Theology in the Trenches

Praying attention
Kathleen Kjolhaug
Friday, January 10, 2020
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“It came upon a midnight clear … the glorious songs of old.” I’ve heard it sung … but watched it play out as it rang out so near and dear.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a small town. Her mama loved Christmas and because her mama loved it, of course the little girl grew to love it too.

A whimsical time it was and still is. Matter of fact, so whimsical this time of year can be that the living of it can actually take place year round in hearts that resound as such. Thus it was so in the life of the little girl. The gifts under the tree, the baking completed, the time spent caroling in the neighborhood, and the life of the church celebrated was pining within many a day.

As the little girl grew, she soon got a job. A friendly atmosphere the diner downtown was, but what was more rewarding was the fact that she had her own money to spend how she chose. It offered just enough for her to dream and to buy a little something for those whom she loved.

One person, among many in her family whom she loved, was her mama. One day after work as the girl walked home, she passed the local jewelry shop. Surely there was time to dawdle within, she thought and so … she entered. A tiny bell above the doorway rang and let it be known that indeed a customer had come. The quiet proprietor, in his quiet setting, allowed the girl to roam randomly throughout the store eyeing the many treasures within.

The One who draws, draws deeply ... if we truly pray attention … and something had caught her attention. There, upon the glass countertop was a book. As she drew nigh, she touched the large red cover with reflective golden words etched upon it: “A Christmas Gallery.” As she opened it, it spoke. The sacredness of the script upon each page and the pictures to match were no match for her heart now melting with desire to succumb to the purchase of it. The diamonds, the glassware, the exquisite expanse of expensive items all around her lost value compared to the holiness of that which her hands now held. It seemed to embody that which her mama stood for. Page after page called … as all things sacred leapt from the pages of the Christmas book.

Properly, the proprietor set the book aside for the girl to gift her mama come Christmas. Little by little, paycheck by paycheck, she tucked just enough away to make the gift her own … to give come Christmas.

The book now sits in wait as each Christmas it is opened in the home of the girl now grown … since her mama left this earth. Funny thing is … the familiar is never far away. The sacred within little stores along main in small towns recycle memories well into the next generation. Because you see …

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a small town. Her mama loved Christmas and because her mama loved it, of course the little girl grew to love it, too. What’s more, the little girl loved the shops along main … especially one.

Come Christmas, each year, this little girl made her way into the local jewelry store … and as she grew, found herself behind the counter helping out this time of year in the shop. Tradition it became as it offered stability to the cycles in life … and brought abiding joy within as she worked.

College breaks found her on main in the jeweler’s shop come Christmas. Graduation came and went and as she found work far away, it did not deter her from making her way back home to work behind the counters come Christmas.

Soon, the girl, now a young woman, was to be married. Come Christmas, into the jeweler’s shop her young man went … into the quiet … to gather what he desired to bless her with. A true gem of a jeweler the proprietor was for such a time as this … to create for the little girl … the young woman … the desire of her heart.

And thus it was in the beginning … it all seems to fit … lest we forget … He goes before us always in ways everlasting.

Come to the quiet. As you pray attention … “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)

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