One of the Advent characters that has gotten my attention this year is Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. As I read Luke 1:5-25 and 1:67-79, I noticed that through forced silence he changed. He started out as a priest and he ended up being a prophet as he shares the beautiful canticle* with all who come to share in John’s birth. My question then is: “What happens to me in silence? Do I allow God to change me?”
During this season of Advent and Christmas it is difficult not to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of the season: shopping, baking, decorating, attending parties etc. My prayer for you is that you can find some moments to let God speak to you. Perhaps it is through nature in the early morning, reflecting on the morning star in the East. Or maybe it is watching the golden sun set in the West. Or perhaps it is sitting with the lights of the Christmas tree, reflecting on Jesus the light of the world. Maybe it’s meditating on the figures in the stable who have said “yes” to make Christmas a reality. Wherever you can find silence this season, I pray that you can wait in silence and listen for God’s Word in your life.
As the New Year begins I welcome you to the silence of John XXIII Retreat Center to find the God within you. Check out our website for the different retreats: www.john23rdsbcglobal.com. Some of the highlights of this year for me have been:
- Having my sister Catherine lead a quilting retreat. (We have one February, 2013. It is Feb. 22-24; come join us!)
- Having our first big Fund Raiser at Taylor UN and raising $28,000 for the Retreat Center; and having 13 family members join me for the Fund Raiser by traveling long distances.
- Singing with the city-wide chorus in the Christmas Cantata (48 voices).
- Celebrating the Graduation of our Second Spiritual Companion Training Class of 16 here in March!
- Enjoying the harvest from my garden: tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, onions and broccoli .
There have been many blessings this year! I pray that you too can count your blessings and look forward to the New Year in 2013 with joyful hope. Also remember to pray for our Poor Handmaid Community as we meet from January 16-23 for Chapter, planning our next four years. Pray that we can be open to God’s Spirit and know how he wants us to serve. The staff and I wish each of you a blessed Christmas.
I would love to visit with each of you. So if it doesn’t happen during the Christmas break you are always welcome at the Retreat Center. We have a guest room waiting for you.
Peace & Blessings,
Sr. Joetta Huelsmann, PHJC
* Canticle of Zechariah *
Blessed be the Lord, The God of Israel; He has come to His people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour, Born of the house of His servant David. Through His holy prophets He promised of old That He would save us from our enemies, From the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers And to remember His holy Covenant. This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham: To set us free from the hands of our enemies, Free to worship Him without fear, Holy and righteous in His sight All the days of our life. You, My child shall be called The prophet of the Most High, For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, To give his people knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our Lord The dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness And the shadow of death, And to guide our feet into the way of peace. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning. is now, and will be forever. Amen.