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Chaplaincy

Wednesday, Second Week of Advent
December 9, 2009

"Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ?Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins...

...When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him." -- Matthew 1:18-21, 24

Getting to Yes

There comes a time when, like it or not, the attic has to be dealt with. Maybe a time like the Thanksgiving break when you know you're going to have to eventually find the Christmas decorations. If you are anything like me, the attic is the answer to every situation of chaos in the house below... Mom, what do I do with these toys I'm not using at all, but dearly love, love, love? Attic. Dad, where do I put these flip flops and shorts until next summer? Attic. All the kids' homework/projects/art which I'm sure we'll pour over in the years to come? Attic. Halloween costumes, Easter egg baskets, luggage of every description and quality, camping gear and sleeping bags, clothes from most every era from the 80s onward, which are absolutely bound to come back into vogue? Yessir, Attic.

So as I was about to go up there (>wince<) I asked my young 7-year-old if he'd like to join me on this "adventure," just to keep me company and help me in the torturous process of sorting through what's there, what's to keep, and what's to toss. And he looked at me skeptically for a moment, and then said, "Yes, I'll come along." He ended up finding a bunch of stuff he was calling "amazing treasures"... a long-forgotten Burger King Happy Meal toy car, and doll houses, and an action figure of some sort, and a couple of dozen misfit toys that had been assigned to the attic purgatory.

And he said to me, "You know, Dad, I'm so glad I said 'Yes,' because if I hadn't said yes, none of this great stuff would be happening."
It came from out of nowhere, and he forgot what he said almost as immediately as he said it, as kids do. No big deal, these pearls of wisdom. But it stayed with me as a thing of beauty: saying "Yes" to life, especially when you think it's going to amount to nothing but some grunt work in a cold, dusty place. Something about being open to possibilities in a moment when it looks more like maybe a bad dream.

It was not Joseph's first instinct to say "Yes." It is not our first instinct. You don't have to do it like Jim Carrey did in "Yes Man..." but be sure to hold onto enough faith in God and life to say "Yes" even if it's just to see what happens next. Amen, So-be-it Emmanuel, God-with-us!

--Jeff McArn
(What him again?!)