Home Alone, Christmas 2021!
No, I really wasn’t home alone this Christmas. Our whole Jesuit community was here with me, but we were isolated because of Omicron.
Masked, passing-by, we exchanged Christmas greetings. I did feel alone.
Perhaps, however, it was because it was Christmas that aloneness felt different than during retreat time, or a day of recollection. It was a somewhat anxious feeling that was hard to ignore despite music, reading, opening Christmas greetings and enjoying a turkey dinner, trimmings and all, alone.
Reflecting upon this experience now that we need no longer isolate, I am struck by how important community is – not something that I should take for granted. As family has become almost non-existent and friends more scattered and distant, community has become all the more important and meaningful.
Their responsive presence and attention are supportive and reassuring. Their multifold communication, serious or playful, is life-affirming.
More profoundly, however, there comes a realization that community is at the heart of the mystery of Christmas, the mystery of the Incarnation: God-with-us, and of the Church: us-with-God. I believe that it is a foretaste of eternity.